An announcement that NHS England is to look closely at how dental services can be improved for vulnerable patients and individuals who are not accessing care has been welcomed by the British Dental Association (BDA).
The initiative, which was announced today (26 April 2013) at the 2013 British Dental Conference and Exhibition by Department of Health Minister Earl Howe, will mean the establishment of a new task group that will report to the new National Dental Commissioning Steering Group. The task group will be led by former BDA President Dr Janet Clarke.
Dr Martin Fallowfield, the chair of the BDA's Principal Executive Committee, said: 'The BDA welcomes this initiative, which we hope will address long-held concerns about both persistent pockets of poor oral health and the challenges some people face accessing care. Reaching vulnerable and hard-to-access patients is vital if attempts to eradicate oral health inequalities are to succeed.
'The appointment of Dr Clarke to chair the group is a very positive step. As a former Chair of the BDA’s committee for salaried primary care dentistry and a vastly experienced figure in the oral health community, she will bring a great deal of understanding to this vital project.'
Dr Peter Bateman, chair of the BDA’s Salaried Dentists Committee, added: 'This is a positive move which we hope will address many of the issues raised in the BDA’s recommendations for commissioning salaried services that were published earlier this week.
'We hope the task group will be able to play a pivotal role in helping the profession to improve oral health outcomes for vulnerable patients.'