Hello readers! Welcome to this week’s newsletter and Happy New Year to you all.
Let’s kick of 2016 with some congratulations...
Four dentists were among those to feature in the 2016 New Year Honours list announced last week. This included Margie Taylor, Chief Dental Officer for Scotland, who was awarded a CBE for her services to dentistry in Scotland. Eric Rooney, Deputy Chief Dental Officer for NHS England, and Jane Davies-Slowik, Associate Dental Dean at Health Education West Midlands were both appointed MBE.
Finally, a well-deserved British Empire Medal (BEM) was awarded to Ashley Lupin for his work providing dental care to a village in Uganda.
…congratulations to all the recipients from the Healthcare News team.
Time for change?
We’re one week into 2016 and dentists mean business.
The words ‘third world dentistry in England’ were splashed across the headlines this week, following an angry letter to The Telegraph.
For the third year in a row, members of the profession wrote to The Telegraph, raising their concerns of an NHS dental system that is “unfit for purpose”. This year, the letter, signed by over 400 dentists, focussed on the rise in dental care being provided by charities who would usually serve third world countries, which they say only highlights the “lack of a proper national dental service.”
An NHS England spokesperson denied the allegations, telling The Telegraph: “These claims are wrong — more patients are getting the dental care they need, and 93 per cent of people got an NHS dental appointment when they wanted one in the last 24 months.”
No response has yet been made to the second point in the dentists’ letter, which stated that it was a “national disgrace” that the most common cause for childhood hospital admissions in England remains rotten teeth. On the same day the letter was published, Public Health England revealed that 5 year olds are consuming their body weight in sugar every year.
And on that note…comments from PM David Cameron this week suggest that he may not be as set against a sugary drinks tax as first made out. After reports in The Times this week, claiming that the government were relaxing their anti-tax stance, Mr Cameron told journalists at a press conference in Hungary:
"I don't really want to put new taxes onto anything but we do have to recognise that we face potentially in Britain something of an obesity crisis when we look at the effect of obesity on not just diabetes but the effect on heart disease, potentially on cancer."
He added "We shouldn't be in the business of ruling things out but obviously putting extra taxes on things is not something I aim to do, it's something I would rather avoid."
But, the wait for the verdict, which will be published in the government’s childhood obesity strategy, continues…
It was on, and then it was off, now it’s back on. Yes, junior dentists strikes are set to go ahead next week after talks with the government over new contracts broke down, failing to reach a compromise that satisfied the British Medical Association or the British Dental Association.
Talks with between the parties resume today…could we see yet another U-turn in the decision to strike?
What do you think? Are we really reaching third world dental standards? Is this the beginning of a backtrack for Mr Cameron? Will Jeremy Hunt do enough to hold off the strikes? Comment below or send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time