The British Dental Association (BDA) has welcomed Health minister Lord Darzi’s plans for significant changes to the way the NHS in England will work in the future.
They include a commitment to preventive, high quality care and the recognition that target-driven systems are not the way forward.
Lord Darzi’s report, High Quality Care For All, also identifies the reduction of health inequalities as a key goal for the NHS.
The principles are to be enshrined in a new NHS constitution, which have also been published for consultation.
Reacting to the publication Susie Sanderson, Chair of the BDA’s Executive Board, said: ‘The affirmation of the guiding principles of the NHS and the recognition of the commitment of those working in the NHS in Lord Darzi’s report are welcome.
‘Lord Darzi’s pledges to provide high-quality, preventive care are consistent with the ethos of modern dentistry. Though serious inequalities still exist, the oral health of most people has been transformed over the last 60 years.
‘Unfortunately, the new dental contract, with its emphasis on targets, has undermined the principle of preventive care in NHS dentistry.
‘If dentists are to deliver Lord Darzi’s vision, changes to the new dental contract that place patients, rather than targets, at the heart of NHS dentistry, will be required.’
Today’s announcement also includes news of the establishment of NHS Medical Education England, a body that will scrutinise workforce planning proposals for doctors and dentists.
The BDA is pushing for a full assessment of the size and capacity of the dental workforce.