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Barry Cockcroft spoke at the Westminster Health Forum seminar on oral health inequalities, dentistry commissioning, regulation and the dental contract reform. The morning’s sessions included discussion from a panel about skill-mix in general dental practice and how this can improve dental health and reassure reluctant patients, encouraging them to engage more in preventative care of their oral health.
Eric Rooney, Consultant in Dental Public Health with Public Health England discussed the changing needs of the population with respect to oral health and the impact that would have in the future of how NHS England would commission services.
John Milne gave the BDA perspective on contract reforms. Dentist Sabrena Kara told the packed Glazier Hall at London Bridge her practice’s experience of being an NHS dental contract pilot practice, and how they had overcome a backlog in care by managing their time better and using dental therapists to give care, leaving her precious time to deal with more complex work.
The Forum was chaired by Lord Colwyn and Alison Seabeck, MP, both of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dentistry.
Judith Christie from GDC and Janet Williamson, Deputy Chief Inspector at the CQC with responsibility for dentistry, then spoke about how regulation and inspection were developing and focused on greater collaboration between the General Dental Council, Care Quality Commission and NHS England.
Professor Callum Youngson, Chair of Dental Schools Council, then spoke about the challenges facing dental schools and how the schools are focused not just on training a workforce but on educating a profession.
Barry said: “The Westminster Health Forum gave us an invaluable vehicle for dental professionals to come together and discuss the future of dentistry. The more we find our areas of agreement, the better we can work together to continue improving the oral health of England.”
The seminar ended with Barry talking about the advances in dental health during his 40 year career, and taking questions from the floor.