Unconventional Recruitment Process for New CDOE

Unconventional Recruitment Process for New CDOE

There are some very mixed messages about the appointment of England’s new CDO.

Sara Hurley made clear that her planned departure was known to NHS England late in 2022, long before it was announced in late May, 2023. In the interim GDPUK ran a story suggesting that she was about to go, and we were told that we had it all wrong.

At the time of the official announcement the profession was told that “Professor Stephen Powis will update you shortly on the arrangements for recruiting the next Chief Dental Officer England.” However, Professor Powis, the NHS National Medical Director, clearly had more pressing concerns, since an advertisement for the post did not appear until February 6th 2024.

Apart from the remarkably leisurely search for a successor to Sara Hurley, there is another oddity about the search for a new CDO.  The job specification for the CDO England job clearly shows that it is in pay band ESM 2. This equates to between £131,301 and £146,450. In the actual advertisement it is shown as paying from £100,000 to £113,625 pa. This is the lower grade ESM1 band.

esm pay

This might indicate that the role has been downgraded, once again.  Others have suggested that this may be related to manoeuvring to get an NHSE preferred candidate into the post. It may also limit the appeal of the post, perhaps to those who have an alternative income stream. Applications closed on February 23rd leaving a narrow window for any applicants outside the NHS England loop. The working pattern is described as “full-time”

Interim CDO Jason Wong, unlike his predecessor, can claim to have some things in common with the majority of UK dentists. He is a GDP who not only runs a practice, but one that delivers UDA’s. It can do no harm that he is a proponent of making more use of skill mix. He does not consider talking to GDP’s beneath him, indeed he has contributed to GDPUK for many years. His lack of a formal public health qualification may count against him, although as interim CDO he has had an opportunity to show what he can do. Since his appointment the periodic emails from OCDO have become more relevant to the majority of practices, and he has manged to avoid either talking about handrails and silos, or coining new catchphrases and acronyms.

Other runners and riders may include recently appointed deputy CDO, Nick Barker, Welsh CDO Andrew Dickenson, and Claire Stevens CBE. Professor Stevens has stepped down from her posts as Paediatric dental Consultant at Manchester University and as a clinical lead for oral health at NHS England, and may now be looking for a new challenge. All three have well established NHS England connections.

On the subject of job applications and former CDO’s, there appear to be continuing difficulties recruiting at the Suffolk University project led by Sara Hurley. Vacancies remaining unfilled and re advertised, include Dental therapists, senior dentists, dentists, and dental nurses.

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