The key to good communication between dentists and patients is adequate time being available, MPs and Peers heard yesterday (4 July 2012).
Speaking at the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Dentistry’s 2012 Summer Reception, Dr Martin Fallowfield, recently elected chair of the British Dental Association’s (BDA’s) Principal Executive Committee, emphasised to Parliamentarians the importance of time in enabling practitioners to communicate with patients in a way that enhances preventive care and improves health outcomes.
The event aimed to consider the findings of the Office of Fair Trading’s report into the dental market published in May.
It saw Dr Fallowfield criticise the emphasis placed on problems with communication in the OFT’s pursuit of media coverage for the reportm, suggesting the coverage was 'sensationalist, unhelpful and showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the practice of dentistry'.
He reminded attendees of the very positive findings of the OFT’s research in regard to patient satisfaction and lamented that they did not figure more prominently in the OFT’s presentation of its work.
He also criticised the way in which the report treated dentistry as a commodity, reminding attendees that it is healthcare delivered to real patients.
Dr Fallowfield also noted the positive reception that the pilots for a new dental contract in England have received in respect of the time the arrangements encourage dentists to spend assessing new patients, arguing this is a positive step in helping patients to take greater responsibility for their own oral health.
He also emphasised that good communication is the responsibility of patients, as well as dentists, urging the MPs present to encourage their constituents to ask questions at the practices they attend if they are at all unsure about any aspect of their care.
The OFT declined to send a speaker.