A new group, set up to oversee the implementation of the Steele review recommendations, is to make preventive dental care a priority.
Professor Jimmy Steele, who led the independent review of NHS dental services, has joined the implementation board that will ensure the delivery of the review’s recommendations.
Chief dental officer (CDO) Barry Cockcroft and John Milne, chair of the general dental practice committee are also members.
The review provided recommendations on improving oral health, increasing access and ensuring high quality dental care for patients in its final report published in June last year.
A major priority will be to encourage dentists to carry out more preventive work.
The implementation board is now inviting dentists and primary care trusts to trial innovative ways of delivering services to improve treatment for patients by creating a system focused on outcomes.
The pilots will also look at:
• increasing access to NHS dentists
• introducing patient registration
• measuring quality as well as quantity of treatment.
Barry Cockcroft said: ‘Prevention and quality are two of the most important principles of today’s NHS and Professor Jimmy Steele’s review of NHS dentistry made many excellent recommendations to improve these. I am pleased that Professor Jimmy Steele has agreed to join the board taking forward these recommendations and look forward to working with him to make a real difference to dental care for patients.
‘Access to NHS dentistry is already improving with 840,000 more patients visiting an NHS dentist in the last year. New NHS dental surgeries are opening up all over the country. I recognise that more needs to be done to ensure that everyone who wants to can access high-quality dental services, and we are committed to delivering that vision.’
Professor Jimmy Steele said: ‘During the review of NHS dental services, I worked extensively with patients, dental professionals and the wider NHS to identify ways in which the NHS could improve and offer all patients the highest standard of care. The pilots will test the recommendations are important to ensure any changes made work for both patients and the NHS.
‘I am pleased to have the opportunity to see through the recommendations of my final report as they are rolled out across the NHS. It is important that we improve preventive services to keep people healthy as well as making sure they have access to the best possible care when they need it.’