Practice Plan comments on NHS Dentistry InquiryNews
Posted by: Dental Design 26th April 2023
As the parliamentary inquiry into NHS dentistry continues, Nigel Jones, Sales & Marketing Director at Practice Plan, part of the Wesleyan Group, has commented on the challenges presented by recruitment and retention.
“We need a serious discussion about workforce planning and the challenges presented by the competition for associate dentists and dental nurses. The cost of recruiting and retaining staff is heaping ever more pressure on practices at a time when they are already experiencing elevated running costs, including energy bills. Many practices delivering NHS care are hanging on by a thread. If they lose an associate, it is nigh on impossible to replace them and there’s the danger they will miss their activity targets and face financial penalties.
“A key question will be how, in the face of competition from private practices, we can make NHS dentistry sufficiently attractive to appeal to homegrown dentists, as well as those who could come from abroad to help maintain service levels. With no increase in funding and a contract that is universally acknowledged as not fit for purpose, that looks like an impossible task at the moment. And though there is certainly a strong argument to make more of hygienists’ and therapists’ skills, it’s not at all clear where they will come from and how quickly they can be trained. It could take years for there to be a material difference in the numbers of overseas dentists, hygienists and therapists, which is time that we just don’t have.
“I hope the inquiry can provide a clear vision for the future of NHS dentistry, which would provide hope and encouragement to those dentists who want to help reduce oral health inequality in our society.”