Turn off tap when cleaning teeth, kids told
Turning off the tap when cleaning your teeth could save over 12 litres of water per person, according to new research.
The research, conducted by Save Water Save Money and the British Dental Health Foundation for National Smile Month, has revealed that nearly two thirds (64%) of 7 to 10 year olds admitted to leaving the tap running while brushing their teeth.
The research has also shown that in homes using a water-saving aid, only six per cent of 7 to 10 year olds left the tap running, saving more than 4,230 litres of water in the process.
The Foundation and Save Water Save Money are encouraging people to think about saving water as well as saving their teeth during the Foundation’s annual campaign, National Smile Month.
Chief executive of the Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, said: ‘Many people believe after brushing their teeth they should rinse their mouth with water, when in fact it is better for oral health to spit the toothpaste out. This ensures that the fluoride found in most toothpastes will remain on the teeth and therefore continue to remain effective.
‘Using water in the right way can be of benefit to oral health. Still water is a great drinks choice for children, while it is also beneficial to have a glass of water after eating or drinking anything sugary.’
Tim Robertson, Director of Save Water Save Money, said: ‘Linking one of National Smile Month’s key oral health messages with the turn off the tap: campaign makes it an action everyone can relate to.
‘That is why products such as the Toothy Timer, carrying the Foundation’s key oral health messages, can help to make a difference. While two thirds of the children in the first survey left the tap running, after the introduction of the Toothy Timer this figure dropped to just six per cent.’
Taking place from 20 May to 20 June, National Smile Month is the UK’s largest oral health campaign.
Save Water Save Money is working in conjunction with the UK’s Water Companies to encourage water efficiency by raising awareness of the high levels of water wasted in the bathroom. Some participating Water Companies are offering their customers free or discounted Toothy Timers, a two minute teeth timer with a funky crocodile attachment, in support of National Smile Month.
Advice on how to use water wisely and details as to what’s on offer from your water company can be found on specific water company websites or at www.savewatersavemoney.co.uk/turnoffthetap. For further information on National Smile Month, head to www.smilemonth.org
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Celebrate the Jubilee with diamond deals^
Henry Schein Minerva will get next month’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations underway in style with a series of diamond deals available for one week only from 28 May to 1 June inclusive.
Henry Schein Minerva has put together these exclusive deals in association with some of their key partners including Dentsply, Dentisan, Septodont, GC, Heraeus and Ivoclar Vivadent.
The promotion gives dentists the opportunity to choose a selection of products from their favourite manufacturers, and with eight great bundles on offer, there’s a Diamond Deal to suit every practice.
Save as much as £50 on selected Dentsply products, £35 on GC’s bundles, or if you prefer, select one of the six products that have been specially selected to feature at a special price of just £60.
In addition, all orders for one of the eight bundles or one of the Diamond Deals will qualify for the chance to win one of six Red Letter Days. So celebrate the Jubilee in style with Henry Schein Minerva.
You can download the Diamond Deals brochure now by visiting http://www.successwithhsm.co.uk/hsmdiamonddeals/
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Early detection of oral cancer to be core CPD^
The General Dental Council (GDC) has confirmed that Oral Cancer: Improving Early Detection is to be included as a ‘recommended’ topic in its continuing professional development (CPD) scheme.
At its meeting held on Thursday 17 May members agreed to include the topic until new CPD rules and associated guidance come into force following the current CPD review.
The GDC introduced compulsory CPD for dentists in 2002 and for dental care professionals (DCPs) in 2008.
While the GDC has no current powers to introduce mandatory CPD topics, it has identified some ‘core’ topics that dental professionals should cover as part of their verifiable CPD.
They are; medical emergencies, disinfection and decontamination and radiography and radiation protection (or materials and equipment for dental technicians).
The GDC also recommends some subjects that can be completed as verifiable or non-verifiable CPD. They are legal and ethical Issues, complaints handling and, now, Oral Cancer: Improving Early Detection.
CPD is a legal requirement of registration with the GDC and failure to meet the 250 hour requirement for dentists or 150 hour requirement for DCPs in a five-year cycle could result in registrants being removed from the register and unable to practise.
Registrants can check their cycle dates on the GDC website.
The GDC is currently reviewing its CPD requirements and throughout 2012 work will continue to develop a future CPD model, extensive stakeholder engagement and public consultation. All the details will be available on the GDC’s website www.gdc-uk.org.
Any new CPD requirements will not be introduced before 2013.
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Leading dentist wins honorary fellowship^
Dr Lester Ellman has been awarded an honorary fellowship by the Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP).
Lester, founder of LR Orthodontics and The Dentistry Business, earned this in recognition of his contributions to the dental profession.
Dr Ellman accepted the fellowship at a ceremony at the Royal college of Surgeons, alongside those practitioners who were being awarded diplomas.
He said: ‘It’s an honorary award that the Faculty very courteously have given me, with no duties or obligations attached. They felt that I had done enough over the years to warrant their recognition. I’m very proud to be recognised in this way.’
Lester qualified in Glasgow in 1964 and has been a GDP since then.
He is a past member of Manchester LDC and past member for more than 30 years of Trafford LDC and was chair of Trafford LDC for 14 years. He was also dental advisor to Manchester PCT for 14 years.
He is a former member of GDSC executive committee and past chair of GDPC, a member of BDA’s executive board and member of BDA’s audit committee.
The Dentistry Business has been innovative in creating a university accredited certificate in dental practice management as well as advising dentists on the running of their practices.
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Dentists told not to prescribe drugs for family^
It is unethical for dentists to routinely prescribe drugs for themselves, family or friends and they should only do so in emergency situations, dento-legal experts warn.
Many dentists think self-prescribing a convenient aspect of the job and that, by doing so, they are simply saving time and resources.
However, UK-wide dental defence organisation MDDUS has handled cases where dentists have been subject to fitness to practise proceedings for either self-prescribing or for prescribing to a family member or friend.
Therefore, it is good practice for dentists to only prescribe drugs to meet the dental needs of their patients.
MDDUS dental adviser Claire Renton said: ‘Self-prescribing is not technically illegal. But it does raise serious ethical concerns and could ultimately result in a complaint to the GDC.
‘Dentists should proceed with extreme caution when considering prescribing any medication for themselves or someone close to them. If in doubt, they should only do so in situations where urgent care is required and there are no immediate alternatives.
‘Drugs should only be prescribed for the dental needs of your patients. As always, it is important to take comprehensive clinical notes so you can justify your actions. These notes should include the treatment provided, any medication prescribed and your relationship with the patient.’
There is a greater regulatory climate nowadays that’s reflected in the GDC’s guidance Responsible Prescribing.
The guidance advises against treating and diagnosing yourself or those close to you.
It states: ‘Other than in emergencies, you should not prescribe drugs for yourself or for anyone with whom you have a close personal or emotional relationship.’
There are many reasons for such tight controls on self-prescribing, mainly concerning the loss of objectivity as the guidance cautions: ‘Part of prescribing drugs responsibly means prescribing only when you are able to form an objective view of your patient’s health and clinical needs. Everyone needs objective clinical advice and treatment.
‘Dentists who prescribe drugs for themselves or those close to them may not be able to remain objective and risk overlooking serious problems, encouraging or tolerating addiction, or interfering with care or treatment provided by other healthcare professionals.’
For full GDC guidance on responsible prescribing, click here
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Wrigley makes an impact at dental shows^
Wrigley’s Oral Healthcare Program has stepped up its events activity this year as part of its strategy to reach more dental professionals in the UK and Ireland with information on the oral health benefits of chewing sugarfree gum.
This year, Wrigley will be at more conferences and exhibitions than ever before, including attending Dentistry Live (25-26 May) for the first time.
Wrigley’s activity at dental shows is focused on starting conversations with professionals about the benefits of chewing and gaining insights about the ways in which professionals provide advice to their patients on improving their oral care.
Industry events are an important platform for Wrigley to facilitate direct communication with the dental community. The success of this approach is reflected in Wrigley’s attendance at the British Dental Conference and Exhibition (26-28 April) in Manchester.
Out of over 150 exhibitors, Wrigley’s stand received the second highest number of visitors. This was measured by BDA badge scanners which recorded 892 unique delegates across the three days.
Louisa Rowntree, communications manager for WOHP, said: ‘We value the one-to-one conversations we are able to have with professionals at events because working closely with the dental community is at the heart of WOHP. Chewing sugarfree gum after eating and drinking is a simple and clinically proven way to look after oral health while ‘on the go’. Gaining feedback from professionals on how we can help them communicate our ‘Eat, Drink, Chew’ message to their patients is fundamental to the programme’s success.
The benefits of chewing sugarfree gum are well documented and the science behind chewing is simple – the action of chewing stimulates the flow of saliva which washes away food debris, helps neutralises damaging plaque acids and remineralises tooth enamel.
For more information visit www.wrigley.com/uk/oralhealth.
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Dentists do battle against ‘whitening cowboys’^
A newspaper report suggesting the Prime Minister was backing an illegal tooth whitening clinic has galvanised dentists into battle against illegal tooth whiteners.
A Department of Health (DH) spokesperson denied the truth behind the story that run in the London Evening Standard in March that David Cameron was championing Pearlys, a chain of tooth whitening clinics run by single mum Liz Ridley.
The story suggested that Ms Ridley had ‘become one of the entrepreneurs Prime Minister David Cameron labelled as crucial to the nation’s recovery’.
The DH spokesperson told Dentistry: ‘The Department of Health – and Number 10 – are unaware that she is one of the Prime Minister’s case studies.’
Now, through social media sites Facebook and Twitter, leading dentists and other dental care professionals are doing battle against businesses offering tooth whitening by anyone other than a dental professional.
Dentist Tony Kilcoyne said: ‘During National Smile Month, the public are being warned by dental professionals to beware of illegal tooth whiteners claiming to be specialists but who put public health and wellbeing at risk just to make profits by not following all the safety systems that dentists do.
‘Many of these companies say it’s only cosmetic, but they risk spreading diseases like hepatitis and TB between customers or damaging teeth and gums irreversibly, by not having the knowledge or skills that dental teams do.’
He added: ‘Don’t ruin your smile or your health by risking these with people who are promoting their services for illegal and potentially dangerous tooth whitening techniques – the GDC, a public protection body, has already secured convictions in the courts, but salons and shopping malls are simply overrun with these illegal whiteners, that they now pose a significant threat to public health generally.’
Earlier this month MP Sir Paul Beresford, himself a dentist, urged the government to do more to ensure cosmetic cowboys using potentially harmful tooth whitening procedures are prosecuted.
Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dentistry, Sir Paul Beresford, said the Department of Health must do more to discourage the illegal practice carried out by anyone other than General Dental Council (GDC) registered dentists or registered dental professionals under the guidance of a registered dentist.
He called for health minister Simon Burns to make a statement over the growing problem and ensure that prosecutions are brought when there is evidence of it taking place.
Last year, the GDC prosecuted a Devon-based, ‘cosmetologist’ for offering tooth whitening treatment. Carl Espano was ordered to pay a total of £1,872.
A GDC spokesperson said: ‘The GDC message on tooth whitening remains the same.
The main messages from our point of view are:
• We believe that tooth whitening is the practice of dentistry, and dentistry must only be carried out by dental professionals who are registered with us
• Specifically GDC registered dentists can carry out tooth whitening. GDC registered dental • Patients should see their dentist first to check they are suitable for treatment.
• If you are a patient who has been harmed by tooth whitening, please contact the GDC.
Dental teams are urged to contact:
• [email protected]
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Get motivated, says Dentistry LIVE speaker^
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
GZ: I was born in San Diego California but spent most of my childhood outside of Los Angeles. I can remember at the age of eight walking into a Holiday Inn hotel ballroom standing behind a podium and speaking to an empty room. Our passion finds its greatest expression when we are children. The empty room has been replaced with audiences around the world.
How did you get into motivational speaking?
GZ: In 1972 I founded a youth organisation in Buffalo, New York called, ‘The Lost and Found’. It grew from 20 to over 1200 in just one year. As a result of the notoriety, I was asked to speak in local schools. You might say I cut my motivation teeth speaking to thousands of young people in gymnasiums with horrible sound systems. At age 60, I still have a passion to speak to youth – and do!
How do you see dentists as an audience?
GZ: I have often wondered how 60% of all my speaking is in dentistry. I am not a dentist (trust me, you wouldn’t want me to be your dentist) and yet the rapport is amazing. Dentists are a great audience, especially when they are with their teams and I see them laugh and even sometimes get emotional.
In these times of doom and gloom and recession, how do you think dentists and their teams can bounce back and look to the future?
GZ: Doom and gloom is an attitude based on those you choose to listen to and believe. Opposition and challenge creates resiliency to make us better not bitter. I am not saying we walk around like everything is perfect because it never is. The recession is just a set back to set us up to passionately remind us what is truly important. Not what we possess but what possesses us?
You have been speaking around the world for a number of years. What do you enjoy about lecturing and how do audiences differ around the world? Is there a big difference between clients in the US and the rest of the world?
GZ: My greatest thrill about speaking is when I see people who arrive with that look that communicates: ‘This is the last place I want to be’, and then the transformation takes place. It starts with a smile, then a laugh and sometimes a tear. They leave passionately different than when they came! I love diversity and I find the only difference between the clients in the US and the rest of the world is expression. I always travel with a large bag of humility and gratitude, which transcends any differences.
What is the most satisfying aspect of your work?
GZ: To have been given the absolute privilege to make a living doing what I love. I often tell my audience that my job is leaving my family, boarding a flight and staying in another hotel someplace in the world. But my passion, my joy, is watching the spoken word transform lives and those lives transforming the lives of others. My wife has said often: ‘You did not find speaking but speaking found you.’
Professionally, what are you most proud of?
GZ: That is so easy to answer, when someone walks up to me during a book signing or in the hotel lobby and emotionally expresses the following: ‘Gary it was like I was the only one in the room you were speaking to.’ That ignites me.
What has been your biggest challenge?
GZ: Saying goodbye to my family! The demands of travel can be somewhat overwhelming and destructive to the family. My wife, Cherisse, and I have always made sure that family stays our priority. It has been challenging at times but we are blessed with a close family and a marriage that has been passionate for 21 years.
What has been your biggest mistake?
GZ: Not admitting when I have made one! Seriously, I make more mistakes than I create successes. I think the greatest mistake I have ever made was when Cherisse and I were in Paris. It was midnight and we were sitting at the base of the Eiffel Tower. There was romance in the air, except with me. I was more enamoured with the lights on the Tower than the beautiful lady setting next to me. After that night I spent the rest of our vacation more concerned with the person I was with than the place I was in.
How do you relax in your spare time?
GZ: I love to bike! No, not the kind with a motor but peddles. I bike about four to five times a week when I am not on the road. Where I live there are amazing bike trails that are beyond beautiful. I have lost almost 50 pounds this past year and I love it. I also golf and received my first hole in one four weeks ago, which proves anyone can get a hole in one!
Can passion in the workplace really make a difference?
GZ: I will tell you this… lack of passion or no passion in the workplace will cost you more than you could imagine. Passionate people are more productive, profitable and a pleasure to work with. Your passion for life will affect your position in life. No passion, no action! Passionate people bring energy, creativity and synergy to the workplace and to the team. The opposite is true as well!
You will be speaking at Dentistry Live on the 25-26 May – what can we look forward to?
GZ: I am teaming this year with Dr Mervyn Druian to create more than just a lecture but a total mental makeover for dentists and their teams. I will be presenting ‘The six attributes of passionate teams’. This will be a once in a lifetime experience to see two of the most passionate men together on the same stage`.
All I can say is, you better come early for a good seat!
There’s still time to book!
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Oral health business scoops export award^
A company specialising in oral healthcare products has been recognised for its international business success.
The Mirage Health Group team scooped an Achievement in International Business award at the inaugural Inspiring Hertfordshire awards.
The awards are designed to showcase excellence in business practice in the county.
The award – sponsored by Tesco – recognises the dedication and commitment to excellence that has seen Mirage Health Group become a major player on the world stage in the healthcare market.
The company specialises in the provision of high quality oral health and ear nose and throat products, including the Hydrofloss Kitty Waterjet oral irrigator and Flix interdentals.
It operates in a number of countries and employees are not only skilled in business but also in languages.
Through a proactive approach to exporting, Mirage Health Group has delivered an impressive level of profitable growth.
General manager of Mirage Health Group, David Caldwell, said: ‘This award reflects the hard work that all of our talented team have dedicated to reaching new customers and ensuring that as many people as possible in the world have access to the best care.’
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Dental training plans unclear, say dentists^
A House of Commons report into reforms of education and training in the NHS fails to address how dentistry and dental training will be affected, the British Dental Association (BDA) has claimed.
The health select committee say reforms are unclear and lack detail and the success of Health Education England (HEE), which will oversee the training across services in England, is at risk because ministers have been ‘slow’ in developing a plan for how the new organisation will operate.
The HEE will become fully operational in April next year and will distribute the £5 billion annual training budget to Local Education and Training Boards.
The report said: ‘We are concerned, however, at the government’s protracted failure to produce concrete plans in respect of the boards, which poses a significant risk to their successful establishment.
‘It is unsatisfactory that so much about the boards still remains vague and indeterminate.’
The BDA said despite submitting evidence to the inquiry, the issue of how training of dentists and their teams will be paid for is still unclear. It said detailed assurances that dental practices will not be expected to pay for training – a scenario that would be completely unacceptable – were
Dr Judith Husband, chair of the BDA’s education and standards committee, said: ‘This report reminds us that the government’s plans are still lacking in important detail and require significant further development. Disappointingly, differences between medical and dental training remain
unacknowledged and dental-specific issues have not been addressed.
‘The BDA has been pressing for clarity on these issues. That they continue to be unresolved is a source of frustration and anxiety for dental practice owners. Dentists need to see a bold, unambiguous statement from government that confirms that they are not to be landed with a huge financial burden for training future generations of the profession.’
Evidence was also submitted by the General Dental Council and The Dental Schools Council but the report lacked any specifics about future dental training.
The committee said that, although it supported the reforms, it was concerned that the government had been slow in developing a coherent plan for both HEE and LETBs.
Tory former health secretary Stephen Dorrell, who chairs the select committee, raised concerns about an ‘apparent lack of urgency’ in the organisation of the bodies.
He said: ‘Current education and training arrangements are complex, inflexible and unfair.
‘This complexity makes it more difficult to change the way care is delivered and respond to the needs of patients; the NHS needs much more effective arrangements for planning and training its future workforce.
‘For those reasons, we welcome the plan to create Health Education England, alongside Local Education and Training Boards and we welcome the remit given to the Centre for Workforce Intelligence.
‘But the government urgently needs to provide more clear and detailed information about how these bodies will operate and work together in the new system.’
Public health minister, Anne Milton, said: ‘This report welcomes our plans to change the current education and training system to make it clearer, fairer and with a greater focus on quality.
‘It is good to see that the Health Select Committee recognises the need for change. We are now moving ahead to reform the education and training system – the chair of HEE has been appointed, Local education and training boards are developing rapidly and we will be setting out details of their remit and how they will operate.
‘We know that this detail will make sure that our plans deliver the change we want to see.’
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Dentist donates cash to charity^
A dentist has donated the proceeds from an auction to Food Relief International, a charity helping the poor in disaster-stricken areas around the world.
The auction prize was a home tooth-whitening package worth in excess of £350 and the event was organised by London dentist Surinder Hundle.
Winner, 20-year-old model Chantelle Pidgley, paid the full price for the package of treatments that started with a full hour consultation involving examination and impressions.
Chantelle said: ‘I’m really excited to get the perfect teeth I’ve always wanted and to be looked after by Dr Hundle. I have always been rather nervous of going to the dentist, but his thoroughly professional and caring approach have completely reassured and relaxed me.’
Dr Hundle consults from two luxurious dental practices in Knightsbridge, London, and at Harvey Nichols in Manchester.
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GDC investigating tooth-whitening clinic^
The General Dental Practice (GDC) confirmed today (Thursday) that it is investigating the tooth whitening clinic at the centre of a news story that suggested the Prime Minister had given it his backing.
The newspaper report – which appeared in a March issue of the London Evening Standard – was unsubstantiated but sparked controversy amongst the dental profession with its claim that David Cameron was championing Pearlys, a chain of tooth whitening clinics run by single mum Liz Ridley and based in London.
Now, the GDC is actively investigating as to whether any criminal offences under the Dentist’s Act have been committed by any person in connection with this business.
But the profession’s watchdog refused to divulge specific details about on-going investigations.
The original story suggested that Ms Ridley had ‘become one of the entrepreneurs Prime Minister David Cameron labelled as crucial to the nation’s recovery’.
But earlier this week, a DH spokesperson told Dentistry: ‘The Department of Health – and Number 10 – are unaware that she is one of the Prime Minister’s case studies.’
Now, through social media sites Facebook and Twitter, leading dentists and other dental care professionals are doing battle against businesses offering tooth whitening by anyone other than a dental professional.
Dentist Tony Kilcoyne said: ‘Many of these companies say it’s only cosmetic, but they risk spreading diseases between customers or damaging teeth and gums irreversibly, by not having the knowledge or skills that dental teams do.’
Pearlys count celebrities among its patients and, on the company’s website, claims: ‘Our highly trained teeth-whitening specialists combine unrivalled customer care with excellent practitioner knowledge and rigorous standards.
‘We operate across more than 150 locations nationwide and TOWIE stars, X-Factor contestants, Hollyoaks’ Sinéad Moynihan and Coronation Street’s Graeme Hawley have all had their teeth whitened with Pearlys.’
On its FAQ page, it claims: ‘The view that teeth whitening is dentistry and therefore can only be performed by dentists is one created by some dentists in an attempt to wipe out competition so they can continue charging 300-500 per cent more than teeth whitening specialists like Pearlys.’
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Dentistry feature: Are we the scapegoats?^
I have come to the conclusion that British journalists are incapable of using the word ‘dentist’ without prefacing it with the words ‘fraudulent’, ‘greedy’ or ‘cheating’.
Or occasionally, when the opportunity presents itself, ‘dirty’ or ‘groping’. But rarely all at the same time, fortunately.
The overwhelming majority of dentists are, of course, none of the above and they probably have an even greater sense of outrage than members of the wider public whenever a story breaks that portrays the dental profession as one not to be trusted.
I have always held the view that these stories may harm the image of the profession as a whole but they actually do no harm at all to other individual dentists because their patients – the ones that know them well and have every reason to trust and have confidence in them – read the stories and think to themselves ‘Thank goodness my dentist isn’t like that.’
On 8 May, the Department of Health (DH) issued a press release that – predictably enough – was picked up avidly by the UK media. Under the attention-grabbing heading: ‘Over £70 million wasted in a year on fraud under current dental contract’, things quickly became a little less specific. In much smaller print below came the statement that NHS Protect had reported that ‘Dental fraud may have cost the NHS £73.1 million in 2009-10.’
May have? Wait a minute, may have? On closer inspection, Dermid McCausland, the managing director of NHS Protect, is quoted as saying: ‘Under the current contract the most common types of fraud include submitting false claims for patients who did not exist, claiming for patients who did not visit the dentist and submitting claims for more expensive treatment than was actually delivered.’
Then the penny drops that this is one of several stories put out from several different government departments in the immediate aftermath of the local government elections that has seen the incumbent coalition suffer rather more than a superficial scratch or two.
An occupational hazard when you spend too much of your time in rose gardens, perhaps? The report from NHS Protect could have been published much sooner, but it wasn’t. Instead it became one of a cluster of reports and statements released in the days following the local government elections, no doubt orchestrated to undermine any momentum that Labour might have sought to generate from their predictable gains in the local elections.
Re-read the headline and the reference to the ‘current dental contract’ is obviously not an accident. Look closer at the press release and other statements and there is Lord Howe, minister for health, pointing the finger at the dental contract introduced by the previous Labour administration: ‘This shows the current dental contract system is not fit for purpose and needs to change to ensure NHS funds are protected and used to benefit patients… Taxpayers will rightly be appalled at the £70 million price tag they are paying for Labour’s botched stewardship of NHS dentistry.’
The Sun opted for a characteristically objective and neutral headline: ‘£70million truth ache – Dentists rip off NHS with fraudulent claims’ and continued with ‘Dentists are charging taxpayers more than £70million a year for work that was never done, a report reveals today. Many claim for complicated treatment like crowns when only fillings or check-ups were carried out. And some are even inventing patients to rake in more money from the NHS.’
Only The Independent got properly into the detail of the NHS Protect report, and the political dimension to the stories that were spun from it.
Starting with an unpromising ‘Dentists inventing work to defraud NHS’ and ‘Dental surgeries are exaggerating or inventing work they have done for the National Health Service in order to swindle tens of millions of pounds out of taxpayers’, one might have feared the worst. The article took the time to describe pretty accurately the main findings of the report on 2009-2010 claims audit and highlighted that the figure of £70 million was a ‘guesstimate’, not the ‘fact’ reported by The Sun, having been reached by taking the percentage of the audited cases where ‘suspected’ fraud ‘may’ have occurred, and extrapolating it against the whole cost of NHS dentistry on the assumptions firstly that fraud had indeed occurred in every one of these cases and secondly, that this sample was truly representative of all NHS dental claims.
The Indy alone got to the facts that after a spot audit of 5,000 claims, 157 were categorised as ‘suspected contractor fraud’.Hold on again. Suspected? But fraud is a criminal offence and not one of the 157 were proven cases of fraud after all. Indeed.
Not quite the headline story any more, is it? It is true – and perhaps a little surprising – that over 1,000 of the claims could not be verified one way or the other (often because the patient could not be traced rather than because the work was shown not to have been done as claimed) but in 3,750 cases the work done matched the claim.
The actual number of cases categorised as ‘patient does not exist/ghost patient’ turns out to have been just four cases out of the 5,000 audited.
Drilling a little deeper (excuse the pun) it seems that if a dentist provides treatment in good faith for a patient who has deceptively and deliberately given a false name, address and/or date of birth, this would qualify as the dentist ‘submitting false claims for patients who did not exist.’
Such patients may have their own reasons for misrepresenting their own identity, whether because they are trying to stay under the radar of the Child Support Agency or the Benefits Office, or HMRC, or the Immigration and Border Control team at the Home Office, or whatever.
But why should the dentist always be cast as the villain in situations such as this, over which they have little or no realistic control?
Jamie Reed, Labour’s shadow health minister, was in no doubt where to lay the blame although he hedged his bets by blaming everyone, except the Labour government that had introduced the 2006 dental contract in England and Wales in the first place. ‘Fraud is the fault of the fraudster, not the contract. The Tories are shamelessly playing politics by trying to blame the rules instead of the people who break them.’ He added that the GDC and the DH needed to ‘get a grip’ on identifying and tackling the ‘fraudsters’.
The few bad apples
Most dentists have no time for that very small minority of their colleagues who really do abuse the system. They do not deserve to have their reputations tarnished and politicians shouldn’t play tawdry political games, or the media run ill-considered and sensationalist headlines using the dental profession as convenient scapegoats.
It is particularly ironic that the politicians and the news media have both been protesting that the few bad apples that have been so shamefully exposed in their own back yards, are not representative of the whole barrel. How incredibly myopic they now seem, and how remarkably short their memories. In the trust and ethics stakes, give me a dentist any day rather than a politician or a tabloid journalist.
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Dental implant leaders share innovations^
More than 20 of the UK’s leading implant dentists and technicians came together to share ideas and best practice at a Key Opinion Leaders Day in Bristol last month.
Organised by leading dental implant supplier Implantium, and held at the firm’s sister company Dentale’s implant training clinic in Portishead, the event was a meeting of minds where the latest developments in implant research and technology were discussed.
Amongst the subjects debated at the event, dental surgeon Dr Adam Glassford, of the Andrea Ubhi practice in York, outlined the benefits of the revolutionary new All on Four implant treatment technique, a method of replacing a full arch of missing teeth with only four dental implants.
Meanwhile, Dr David Heath, of Shine Dental Care Ltd in Mansfield, talked about the simplicity and reliability of the Implantium system and excellent customer support, while Dentale tutor Richard Oliver presented some of the latest implant industry research results and revealed details about the new range of SlimLine mini implants. Implant entrepreneur and Founder and Director of Implantium, Jason Buglass, also spoke about the innovative new IIT Implant Guiding System.
Jason Buglass said: ‘Events like this are a fantastic way for some of the country’s foremost dental professionals to share their expertise and knowledge. The range of topics covered on the day was excellent and it gave leaders in the field the chance to hear about and discuss the very latest in implant technology and research.’
Julie Davies, Group Director of Implantium UK and Ireland, commented: ‘It was great to see so many of our dentists at the event and to hear the fantastic range of ideas they had to share.’
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Few surprises in dental elections^
The British Dental Association (BDA) has announced the results of elections for its principal executive committee (PEC).
Most of those elected had previously been members of its executive board or representative body.
Eleven of the successful candidates stood for geographical constituencies.
In five of these, no election took place as there was only one candidate.
In the England North West constituency no member stood and a by-election will take place.
A further three members were elected on a national basis, to represent dentists across the whole of the UK.
A list of successful candidates and the geographical constituencies they have been elected to represent has been published. Those elected unopposed are marked with *
· Martin Fallowfield (England, East)
· Judith Husband (England, East Midlands)
· Russ Ladwa (England, London)
· Paul Blaylock (England, North)
· Victor Chan ((England, South East) *
· Nigel Jones (England, South West)
· Eddie Crouch (England, West Midlands)
· Mick Armstrong (England, Yorkshire and Humber) *
· Philip Henderson (Northern Ireland) *
· Robert Kinloch (Scotland) *
· Stuart Johnston (Wales).*
· Alison Lockyer (UK wide)
· Susie Sanderson (UK wide)
· Graham Stokes. (UK wide)
The senior officers of the PEC, including the Chair, will be elected in June, ahead of the body formally taking responsibility for the governance of the BDA on 1 July.
^1338163200^5141^Few surprises in dental elections^The British Dental Association (BDA) has announced the results of elections for its principal executive committee (PEC).Most of those electe…^http://dev.dentistry.co.uk/sites/all/themes/dentistry/images/news_images/ballotbox.jpg
Kate Middleton tops best smile list ^
More than half of Brits believe that the quality of a person’s teeth has a major impact on a person’s career or romantic life, yet only half of us visit the dentist regularly.
That’s according to healthcare group, Bupa.
• Three in five people (63%) believe having bad teeth can prevent someone from finding a partner
• Over half (52%) believe having nice teeth can help someone get a better job
• Almost half (46%) believe having nice teeth can help a person to make more friends
However, only half of the people polled (53%) attend a regular dental examination and one in seven (14%) has not visited a dentist in the last four years – with four per cent having never visited at all.
Despite the trend for American-style perfectly straight, sparkling white teeth, a British smile was voted the most popular in the poll – with Kate Middleton’s natural smile trouncing the competition and being voted the nation’s favourite.
Not only do we think having a nice smile is important, it seems that we’d do an awful lot to get one:
• One in seven (14 per cent) would give up having sex for a whole year if it meant they could get perfect teeth
• One in five (22%) would forgo booze for a year if they could have a spectacular smile
Brian Franks, clinical director of dentistry with Bupa Health and Wellbeing says: ‘Being happy with your teeth can have a big impact on your confidence and this can affect your work and relationships. So it’s surprising that so many people don’t go for regular dental examinations.
‘Even people who are currently happy with their teeth should pay attention to their dental health, as problems can happen at any time and get worse if not treated.’
More than one in three people said that the expense is the main reason for not visiting the dentist regularly. Although three in ten people have landed themselves in debt or had to make sacrifices in order to cover unexpected dental bills, only one in ten people has dental insurance.
Best and worst celebrity smiles
1. Kate Middleton
2. Cheryl Cole
3. Alesha Dixon
4. Jessie J
6. Tom Cruise
7. Colin Firth
8. Richard Hammond
9. Rosie Huntington Whitley
1. Pete Doherty
2. Alan Carr
3. Mike Tyson
4. Ricky Gervais
5. Kate Moss
7. Simon Cowell
8. Nicola Roberts
9. Maria Fowler (TOWIE)
For further information about Bupa’s Dental Centres, including our dedicated dental phobia specialist, visit http://www.bupa.co.uk/individuals/self-pay-treatments/dental-services
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Retiring dentist plans charity hike^
A specialist in special care dentistry plans to celebrate her retirement in June with a grand tour in aid of Dentaid.
Elizabeth May works for the Somerset Primary Care Service and will be visiting each of the county’s 10 clinics in turn – about 200 miles – backpacking with a lightweight tent.
Starting on 28 June, the route will take her from her home in the Mendips to Frome, Yeovil, Chard, Taunton, Wellington, Minehead, Bridgewater, Burnham-on-Sea, Wells, Glastonbury and home, covering about 25 miles per day, using many of the long distance footpaths in Somerset.
She said: ‘Dentaid’s aims sum up many of the areas of dentistry in which I have been involved – the wider aspects of delivery of care to populations; issues of access and reaching out to the more vulnerable; prevention and education.’
Sponsorship donations to benefit Dentaid can be made at www.justgiving.com/elizabeth-may1.
^1338163200^5143^Retiring dentist plans charity hike^A specialist in special care dentistry plans to celebrate her retirement in June with a grand tour in aid of Dentaid.Elizabeth May works fo…^http://dev.dentistry.co.uk/sites/all/themes/dentistry/images/news_images/Elizabeth-May-RHL..jpg
Dental practice to Face the Challenge^
Practice Manager and co-owner of The Dental Practice Shoreham, Trudy Heyns has been a customer of Henry Schein Minerva since she bought the practice along with dentist Dr Annalize van Zyl more than five years ago.
As manager of the three-surgery private practice, Trudy admits to ‘relishing a challenge’, so was delighted at the beginning of the year to see Henry Schein Minerva launch their Face The Challenge campaign – ‘I love a challenge and this campaign really grabbed my attention.’
Trudy soon realised that the practice was already working with Henry Schein Minerva in a number of areas and on speaking with her field sales consultant, Andy Lane, decided the campaign was exactly the impetus she needed to go ahead with equipping a new surgery which they had been planning for a while – so qualifying in the area of capital equipment.
‘Face The Challenge has focused my attention on the fact that Henry Schein Minerva can service my practice in many different areas. When I looked at the business we already did with them we only needed to include a couple of new areas to qualify for the chance to win some amazing rewards. Our practice has claimed in five areas so far; consumables, equipment, training, handpiece repairs and imaging and we have been delighted with the support and service we have received.’
The Dental Practice Shoreham is just one of hundreds of practices so far registered with Face The Challenge and with just a few weeks to go until the campaign closes now is the time to make your claim. So visit the website now, take a look at the qualification criteria and identify those areas in which you can make a claim.
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Dental team saves baby’s life^
A dental team performed emergency CPR on a baby, saving his life after his heart stopped.
Staff at Richard Flanagan and Associates dental practice in Canterbury, Kent, were on hand when Agnes Wrodarczyk, 33, rushed in 10-month-old son Henry appeared to have a seizure and his breathing and heart had stopped.
She had already called 999 but rushed him to the dental practice for help in a panic.
Staff managed to resuscitate the 10-month-old and he has since made a full recovery.
Orthodontist Richard Flanagan said: ‘After about 30 compressions and approximately 45 seconds the baby just sprang to life. The eyes looked lively, the colour rushed back and it was just the most amazing feeling.
Mum, Agnes Wrodarczyk, said: ‘We are extremely grateful to staff at the dentist’s and as far as we are concerned they saved Henry’s life. When I saw him sitting up and reaching towards me it was the happiest day.’
Doctors believe the seizure, which happened on 19 April, may have been caused by a virus.
Practice manager Jo Williams said: ‘The incident highlights the importance of regular cardiac resuscitation and other emergency procedures for the dental team especially as, in this instance, it was a member of the general public and not a patient who accessed the surgery, reflecting their reliance on dental professionals as appropriate individuals who should be competent in coping with medical emergencies.’
^1338163200^5145^Dental team saves baby’s life^A dental team performed emergency CPR on a baby, saving his life after his heart stopped.Staff at Richard Flanagan and Associates dental pra…^http://dev.dentistry.co.uk/sites/all/themes/dentistry/images/news_images/richardx.jpg
A scorching Dentistry LIVE^
The sun was certainly shining this year at Dentistry LIVE in and outside the QEII Convention Centre in Westminster, London.
Delegates arrived in their hundreds and were presented with a programme packed full of hands-on sessions and energising lectures taught by some of the most popular and respected speakers in Dentistry.
‘The Passion Expert’ Gary Zelesky and ‘Mr Motivator’ Mervyn Druian teamed up to provide an energetic and inspirational morning lecture on ‘The Human Spark of Dentistry’ that certainly got guests up, motivated and ready to learn.
The smooth-talking American, Trent Smallwood, presented three thought-provoking lectures across the two days, including a double morning ‘Posterior Composite hands on workshop’.
The renowned Eric Van Dooren presented a highly popular double lecture discussing ‘New Opportunities for Enhancement in the Aesthetic Zone’ that left many delegates feeling revitalised and ready to take ideas back to the practice.
MJ at Tracey Bell @MJatTraceyBell
@DentistryLive thanks for a great conference! Stirling work, fab venue, brilliant speakers! Roll on 2013!
Mark Topley @mark_topley
Lovely group, good turnout & a great time presenting [email protected] @shaennab2a @ChrisBKH. @DentistryLive
Dentistry LIVE would like to thank all our speakers, many who had travelled from afar to lecture at the event, and to the all the exhibitors.
Please see our full Dentistry LIVE coverage with words and pictures in the second June issue of Dentistry.
‘Like’ our facebook page to see new pictures and updates and tag yourselves in our Dentistry LIVE gallery if you were there this year. We love your feedback so follow us on Twitter – @DentistryLive and tweet your highlights.
Look out for Dentistry LIVE 2013 full programme with some highly popular names already confirmed to lecture next year.
To book for 2013, call Freephone 0800 371652.
^1338163200^5146^A scorching Dentistry LIVE^The sun was certainly shining this year at Dentistry LIVE in and outside the QEII Convention Centre in Westminster, London.Delegates arrived…^http://dev.dentistry.co.uk/sites/all/themes/dentistry/images/news_images/mjtbell.jpg
UK dentistry under fire from trading watchdog^
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) today (Tuesday) called for major changes to the £5.73 billion UK dentistry market after a study found it is not always working in the best interests of patients.
The OFT study found that patients have insufficient information to make informed decisions about their choice of dentist and the dental treatments they receive.
It also called on the British Dental Association to develop a ‘a robust and effective code of practice covering the sale of dental payment plans’ in response to findings of ‘potential pressure selling by dentists’.
A new survey conducted as part of the study suggests that each year around 500,000 patients could be provided with inaccurate information by dentists regarding their entitlement to receive particular dental treatments on the NHS.
As a result, they may pay more to receive private dental treatment.
The report also raises concerns about continued restrictions preventing patients from directly accessing dental care professionals, such as hygienists, without a referral from a dentist. The OFT considers these restrictions to be unjustified and likely to reduce patient choice and dampen competition.
The OFT also highlights concerns with the current NHS dental contracts in England.
As the majority of these contracts are not time-limited, and only a small volume of new contracts are put out to tender each year, it is extremely difficult for new dental practices to be established – and successful dental practices which offer a higher quality of service to NHS patients are prevented from expanding.
Other issues of concern highlighted in the report include the complexity of the complaints process for patients and instances of potential pressure selling by dentists of dental payment plans.
The OFT has identified a wide-ranging package of recommendations to address these concerns, which includes:
• Provision of clear, accurate and timely information for patients – the OFT is calling on NHS commissioning bodies, the General Dental Council and the Care Quality Commission to be proactive in enforcing existing rules which require dentists and dental practices to provide timely, clear and accurate information to patients about prices and available dental treatments.
• Direct patient access to dental care professionals – the OFT urges the GDC to remove restrictions preventing patients from making appointments to see dental hygienists, dental therapists and clinical dental technicians directly, as soon as possible.
• Reform of the NHS dental contract in England – the OFT is urging the Department of Health to redesign the NHS dental contract to facilitate easier entry into the market by new dental practices and allow successful practices to expand. The OFT is not convinced that indefinite contracts to supply NHS dentistry are in the best interests of patients.
• Simplification of the complaints process – the OFT considers that the current system should be reformed to make it simpler, easier and less time consuming for patients and dentists to resolve complaints.
• Sale of dental plans – following discussion with the OFT, the British Dental Association has agreed to develop a robust and effective code of practice covering the sale of dental payment plans.
John Fingleton, OFT chief executive, said: ‘Our study has raised significant concerns about the UK dentistry market which need to be tackled quickly in the interest of patients. All too often patients lack access to the information they need, for example when choosing a dentist or when getting dental treatment. We also unearthed evidence that some patients may be receiving deliberately inaccurate information about their entitlement to NHS dental treatment, and we expect to see robust action taken against such potential misconduct by dentists.’
‘This study has also highlighted that the current NHS dental contract in England may well not be working in the best interests of patients, and that regulations unjustifiably restrict patients from getting direct access to dental care professionals like hygienists. Reform in both these areas is needed without delay.’
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Office of Fair Trading and all that^
Seven weeks ago we were told that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) report was not being published because of purdah.
Local elections were on the way and no announcements could be made then.
At the BDA Conference I was given a different version. The report had been written, but it had adverse comments about the Department, the NHS and the 2006 contract.
No, the Government did not want bad publicity just before local elections. The elections passed with the predictable result with or without the OFT report.
A dodgy survey came out claiming that dentists were defrauding the public purse to the tune of £70 million now the report tells us that half a million people think they are being given duff information by their dentist about what is or is not available under the NHS.
Nothing about the vast majority of people being happy with their dentist or that 80% of patients were also happy to have gone into a dental plan. No, just the usual knocking copy about dodgy dentists from so-called friends of the patient.
However, this report came down against the Department and the NHS in many areas. It is NHS dentists who are misleading their patients about what is or is not available.
It is NHS dentists who are failing to explain the charges, but do they understand them themselves?
It is the NHS contract that acts as a barrier to new entrants into the market and the expansion of successful practices,
These are major NHS problems against which the anxieties of 20% of plan clients pale into insignificance.
The report argues that there should be an effective code of practice about selling dental plans.
But why ask the BDA to do this? It is the responsibility of the companies themselves, surely?
I have left to the end the question of direct access of patients to hygienists, therapists and clinical dental technicians.
The OFT thought this was a done deal after their 2003 report. The GDC has been told to just do it. No argument this time; it will happen.
^1338249600^5148^Office of Fair Trading and all that^Seven weeks ago we were told that the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) report was not being published because of purdah.Local elections were on …^
Dentist slams OFT’s ‘headline-grabbing’ focus’^
The Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT’s) report of its inquiry into dentistry fails to take a practical view of the complexities and realities of dental care, the British Dental Association (BDA) has said.
Reacting to the report, which is published today (Tuesday), Dr Susie Sanderson, chair of the BDA’s executive board, said: ‘Research by bodies including the regulator of dentistry, the General Dental Council, confirms that the vast majority of patients are happy with the care they receive. The Office of Fair Trading’s own research also confirms this to be the case.
‘Where patients do have concerns about their care, it is clearly important that they have an effective complaints process. This is helpful for dentists and patients alike and dentists support the goal of making the process as simple as possible.
‘The delivery of effective dental care is all about good communication between dentists and patients. That communication will not be enhanced by the OFT’s headline-grabbing approach to publicising this report. That it has chosen to ignore what it knows about patient satisfaction and instead focus on a very small number of cases where it believes it has identified problems is disappointing.’
She added: ‘This report treats dentistry purely as a market, and dental care as a commodity. In doing so, it has taken a simplistic view of dental care that fails to take into account the huge sums of money dentists invest in surgeries and ignores the unique role in screening and diagnosis that dentists are trained to perform.
‘Also crucial is the development of a new dental contract which is already under way in England. In piloting and designing those new arrangements, government must ensure it provides clarity about what the NHS offers and properly supports practitioners in providing the kind of modern, preventive care that our patients deserve.’
Meanwhile, the oral health charity, the British Dental Health Foundation, acknowledged that although parts of the report have validity, it also has its shortcomings.
Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Foundation said: ‘Whilst we welcome the report and the fact it recognises the need for change in certain areas, some of the findings are flawed and out of date. The Steele Review, which was commissioned by the last government, has already addressed the concerns raised around the 2006 NHS Contracts and a replacement proposal is already being piloted.’
He added: ‘The recommendation for the GDC to require that private practices display a pricing structure is irrelevant. A dentist should provide a patient with a treatment plan, and as each patient’s plan is different, fixed pricing will lead to confusion and the possibility of disappointed patient expectations.
‘It is also worth noting that patients like any consumer have choice and if they are not satisfied with the service they are free to change dentist, although many patients are not aware that they can. This applies to both NHS and private practices. However there is no correlation between lower costs and high quality dentistry one does not necessarily equal the other.
‘Whilst it is reported in some cases patients may feel an element of coercion to take up a patient plan, when a dentist changes over from NHS to private, they are always free to move. And there are many more paying patients, who because of the high levels of patient satisfaction with their dentist, not acknowledged in the report, chose not to move.’
On the subject of direct access, Dr Carter said: ‘The report suggests that patients should be given direct access to dental hygienist and therapists. And whilst supporting this recommendation, as we believe it may facilitate better understanding of oral health and encourage new patients and more referrals to the dentist, it must be done under caution.’
Meanwhile, dental payment plan company, Denplan, strongly supported the introduction of a code of practice from the British Dental Association for the selling of dental plans.
Dr Roger Matthews, chief dental officer with Denplan, said: ‘We take great care to ensure that dentists and their teams are appropriately trained and we support policies to ensure that all providers follow this ethical approach and will continue to do so.’
Nigel Jones, sales director at dental payment plan company, Practice Plan, added: ‘Overall, the OFT report mostly reinforce the need for what many people would already consider to be good practice and the generally very positive response of the public in respect of their experience with their dentist suggests much of their recommendations are already widely in place.
‘The request for the BDA to create a short Code of Practice advising on the sale of dental plans is not likely to have a major effect given most if not all of the elements of the Code suggested by the OFT are already in place, at least with the three main plan providers.’
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Implant maintenance course for hygienists^
Juliette Reeves, of Perio-Nutrition, is presenting a full day hands-on masterclass for dental hygienists on Saturday 3 November at the Ivoclar Vivadent International Centre for Dental Education, (ICDE) Leicester.
The course hosted by Ivoclar Vivadent and supported by American Eagle Instruments, EMS, Kerr, Optident and Philips Oral Healthcare will focus on the essentials of implant care and maintenance of the surrounding soft tissues.
The course will provide 6 hours verifiable CPD and is targeted towards hygienists in general practice involved in the after care of implant patients.
This hands-on course will include lectures, videos, protocols, demonstrations and hands on sessions using some of the latest materials and instrument techniques in implant maintenance.
The course will focus on the practical application of implant management techniques and the chance to evaluate a range of new instruments and materials for tissue management.
Participants have the opportunity to experience and practise different techniques on models.
Places on this full day course held at the ICDE are limited and the cost of £95 includes all course materials, goody bag, lunch and refreshments.
Visit www.perio-nutrition.com/Courses.html for a brochure and online booking details.
Juliette is a dental hygienist and nutritionist working in general practice. She is a key opinion leader to Philips Oral Healthcare, a postgraduate training consultant to Ivoclar Vivadent UK and senior UK tutor to the Swiss Dental Academy. Juliette has received training in implant maintenance from masterclass academies in Geneva and Liechtenstein. Juliette is published internationally and regularly gives seminars and workshops around the country.
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Key speakers for practice managers’ conference^
Business of Dentistry (BoD) has recently announced the full line-up of leading dental business speakers for its first ever Practice Managers’ Conference, which takes place on 14 June at Whittlebury Hall in Northampton.
The conference will be hosted by Sheila Scott who will be introducing sessions from Laura Horton (on the role of the treatment coordinator, in increasing practice profits), Emma John (on how to attract more patients through differentiation) and Keith Hayes from Apolline, who will kick-off the day with a session that will demystify CQC.
It aims to inform delegates on, ‘How CQC can be turned into a positive business tool’. The day will also feature short, case study sessions from experienced practice managers. Sheila will wrap-up proceedings with an interactive presentation on, ‘How to motivate your team’.
The Practice Managers’ Conference has already attracted close to 100 delegates from across the UK. However, there are still a few remaining spaces available for those still wishing to attend. Spaces can be reserved by calling Hannah Davies on 01691 684171.
BoD hopes the conference will become a permanent fixture in the dental event calendar and satisfy a growing need for events specifically tailored to the business and development needs of practice managers.
BoD managing director, Nick Dilworth, says: ‘Improving levels of business expertise is vital for the Business of Dentistry. The Practice Managers’ Conference provides delegates with an opportunity to hear fundamental advice from dental business professionals and gain insights into achieving new skills. So far, the conference has been very well accepted within the industry and given the exceptional line-up, I am confident this will be a successful event!’
Places at the Conference are £160.00 and just £120.00 for members of BoD and Practice Plan. There is also the opportunity to meet and network with fellow practice managers at an evening reception and dinner the night before the conference (13th June). Attendance at the Reception and dinner along with a room and breakfast, is just an additional £150.00.
For further information or to make a reservation, go to www.bodhub.co.uk or call Hannah on 01691 684171.
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CQC unaware of ‘dental demands’^
The British Dental Association (BDA) has raised fears over inspections carried out by the Care Quality Commission – at the same time the debate over CQC registration returns to Parliament.
The BDA believes there is a lack of consistency and some inspectors are not aware of dental demands.
It has repeatedly warned government of the increasing burden of red tape encircling practitioners and the detrimental effect it has on patient care and warned the growing bureaucratic burden could see practitioners consider early retirement.
A spokesman told Dentistry: We also now have concerns about the inspection regime itself. Both from reading reports and from the feedback we receive from members, it is becoming clear that there are inconsistencies in the different approaches of the inspectors.
‘It is also clear that some inspectors lack an understanding of the requirements that dentists must work to. We are looking very closely at this issue as it emerges and will continue to engage with CQC to press for these problems to be addressed.’
The government previously refused BDA calls to exempt dentists from CQC registration and even to delay the process, arguing that it is progressing well.
Tewkesbury MP Laurence Robertson has re-ignited the long running debate over the need for dentists to register with both the CQC and the General Dental Council, and for the additional burden of all partners in a practice registering individually.
He said: ‘Dentists are still raising concerns about the registration and whether it is really necessary to register with both the CQC and GDC and for each partners to have to. Government needs to look at whether it is necessary as it is clearly still an issue in the profession. Maybe there
are reasons for it but if dentists are still saying it’s time consuming, burdensome and expensive, it needs to be examined.’
Health minister, Simon Burns, said regulation operated by the GDC focuses on individual professionals and their individual clinical fitness, whereas the CQC focuses on the way systems and organisations are managed.
He said: ‘This is as important in protecting patient safety as the competence of individual professionals. The CQC regulates the organisation that provides the services, and can take enforcement action against that body if it does not meet essential levels of safety and quality.
‘Regulation by the CQC has additional benefits in that the CQC actively monitor providers’ compliance against its registration requirements. This allows CQC to take swift action as soon as problems arise.’
A spokesperson for the BDA added: ‘The BDA has argued consistently that regulation in dentistry should be proportionate, non-duplicative and not impose an unnecessary burden on dental practice. The imposition of Care Quality Commission registration of dental practices was deeply concerning because it did not appear to adhere to those principles. The procedure of
registering dental practices also proved flawed, with many practical problems arising during the process. These did nothing to reassure already-unconvinced practitioners that the addition of yet another layer of bureaucracy to dentistry was of value.
‘The decision to defer the requirement for the registration of our medical colleagues simply reinforced the suspicion of dentists that they had been used as guinea pigs for CQC registration, and did nothing to improve confidence in CQC’s role and performance.
He added: ‘Concern in the profession about the burden of regulation remains very real and the BDA continues its dialogue with both the Department of Health and CQC itself about issues around the registration of dental practices.’