Leaders from the health and dental community have come together to discuss the future of NHS dentistry in York.
Following the transfer of NHS dentistry from NHS England to the new local Integrated Care Boards in April this year, local health leads have been working tirelessly to understand the scale of the dental challenge and how to fix it.
At the York Dental Summit, called by the MP for York Central, local dental providers, trainers, public health practitioners and health leads gathered to discuss the future of dentistry in the city.
The meeting not only reviewed the state of dentistry in York, and the urgent need for accurate data about NHS dentistry in the city, but identified what work needed to be undertaken to rebuild an NHS dental service.
While still waiting for the Government to publish their long-awaited NHS Plan, Healthwatch have been monitoring the dental situation in York, while the Health Select Committee (of which Rachael Maskell MP is the Vice Chair), has undertaken its own inquiry into the state of NHS dentistry nationwide.
There is a shortage of good data to understand the number of dentists, the demand and the costs, which nationally and locally needs to be understood. This is holding back local ambition, however there is much that can be put in place.
At the Summit, how oral healthcare can be provided in schools, care homes, to pregnant and nursing women and to vulnerable groups was discussed, as well as to how dentists, dental nurses, dental technicians and dental hygienists can work more collaboratively to meet local demand.
There is a need for better city-wide training, and discussions about a Centre for Dental Development in partnership with the University of York were also raised, as was the possibility of a Dental School to train the next generation of dentists.
Rachael Maskell MP for York Central, who called for the summit said:
“A lot of work is being undertaken across the city to fix the dental crisis in York, however people still need to be able to access services. Having first set out my Dental Charter for York, I am determined that we must see a high-quality NHS dental service return to York. Good oral health provision under the NHS is a fundamental right that must be accessible to all. I am glad that today’s summit has been so productive at mapping the way forward.”
Amanda Bloor, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer for NHS Humber and North Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) said:
“We are pleased to have had the opportunity to get together and have constructive conversations with Rachael and dental colleagues from across York. This has given us a fantastic opportunity to talk through well-known challenges facing dental care in the city and consider how we can, working together, look to improve oral health within our area as a priority.”
Mark Green, of North Yorkshire Local Dental Committee said:
“There were very refreshing conversations about NHS dentistry and hopefully we will see some positive changes. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”