Piloting must not fail test of nerve, say dentists

All parties involved in pilots for a new dental contract in England must hold their nerve when the process hits problems, the BDA’s John Milne has emphasised this week.

In a blog published ahead of his address at the 2011 Annual Conference of Local Dental Committees on Friday (10 June 2011), Dr Milne, chair of the general dental practice committee, has acknowledged it is inevitable that challenges will occur during the pilots.

He has warned though that both government and participants must stick with the process despite the problems and learn lessons about what does and doesn’t work.

The blog also sees Dr Milne underline the importance of change being funded realistically, stressing that a pilot based on a low UDA value is likely to struggle to deliver a full range of quality care.

Where this becomes an issue, Dr Milne argues, the NHS must acknowledge it and understand that some patients may need extra funding.

He also stresses that a new system must work for all, arguing that a win/lose negotiation position must be avoided if the contract that is developed is to stand the test of time.

A win/win/win situation – in which patients get improved oral health, the NHS gets a quality service, and the profession and the team get improved working lives – should be the outcome of the pilots, he argues.

Dr Milne’s blog is published at: www.bda.org/communities.

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