Continued and detailed engagement with the profession is vital to the success of the Steele Review pilots.
That’s the verdict of Dr John Milne, Chair of the British Dental Association’s (BDA’s) General Dental Practice Committee (GDPC).
Setting out the profession’s priorities for 2010, Dr Milne said that there has been a promising start to the evolution of high street dentistry, including good engagement with dentists on the development of care pathways and a pledge that pilots will be given time to work and be properly evaluated.
But he warned against complacency, stressing that only if there is continued engagement will the process deliver a better system for dentists and their patients.
Speaking after GDPC’s first meeting of 2010, Dr Milne said: ‘Good progress has been made on the process of taking forward the recommendations of Professor Steele’s Review with the establishment of working groups to consider different aspects of the reforms.
‘The Department of Health (DH) has a chance to create a system that really works and the profession is keen to help them do that. The way to achieve that is continued and detailed dialogue. Importantly, the process must also be given the time it needs.’
Dr Milne also reiterated the importance of dealing with the problems arising from the current contract, citing the still unresolved difficulties with the sale of practices and transfer of contracts as an outstanding issue.
He also warned that the problems that are still rising as a result of the UDA system will soon be in the spotlight again.
‘Many dentists across England and Wales will soon be having difficult conversations with their primary care organisations about UDA targets. We urge PCTs to take a constructive approach to those conversations that recognises the issues dentists face and the hard work they do providing care to patients.’