The Department of Health has announced that the 90 dental pilots will be extended until March 2015. It has also published a report from Professor Jimmy Steele from the evidence and learning group. Like most Government reports it is not an easy read. The detail in the report is impressive; it does not, however, answer two questions: how do its findings relate to the realities of general dental practice and how does the extension of the pilots affect the introduction of a new contract?
To begin with the positives, evidence from the pilots is that patients and dentists continue to like the concept of a pathway. Risks are being managed and routine treatment is being provided. Oral health is, on the whole, benefiting, although there are variations across the pilots.