Sara Hurley, Chief Dental Officer for England, sent out the following NHS dentistry and oral health update on Friday evening, 27th November:
Every week I get the statistics on my desk which show how many patients we are seeing and what type of treatments we are giving them. I’m happy to report that access is steadily increasing and the initial evidence from over the summer shows that the majority of treatments we are offering are tooth saving.
As you will have seen, since my last update, the NHS has moved to incident Level 4 and the government has announced the tiers communities in England will be in after the period of national restrictions ends on 2nd December. Our clinical priority remains the provision of urgent dental care. As we continue the transition to recovery of services and where practice capacity allows, we would increasingly expect practices to be actively recalling patients to resume interrupted care pathways and seeking to offer appointments to patients who normally attend the practice for care in terms of their risk.
I recognise that there is a delicate balance in meeting patients’ needs against the restrictions of COVID. However, the statistics demonstrate the great efforts of the majority of practices in providing access and addressing a wide range of patients’ dental care concerns.
November is mouth cancer awareness month so it is a good opportunity for me to remind everyone that a patient with suspected mouth cancer is in urgent need and should be prioritised for a face to face consultation.
Sandra White, Public Health England’s lead for dental health has also written an important update on the use of antibiotics. Dental professionals have done sterling work in reducing the use of unnecessary antibiotics in the last few years and we must continue to do our bit to avoid the development of antibiotic resistance.
I’m also delighted that the amazing Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise has been named the South West Regional Winner in the Health Equalities Award category of the NHS Parliamentary Awards 2020. Their local MP nominated them after seeing the excellent work the practice has done to support those who are homeless in Plymouth. More detail on their achievement is below. In these updates to you, I want to share just some of the stories which show why we should be proud of what we’re doing. If you know of a colleague who deserves a shout out (and you all will) then please do drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.