First blueprint published for London-wide Special Care Dental Services to ensure high quality care for all

NHS England has published its first ever pan-London service specification for special care patients, to ensure patients receive high quality consistent care across the capital.

The new specification will mean eligible patients will be able to choose where in the capital they want to go for their care, regardless of which borough they live in.

The blueprint will also help to eradicate variations in how dental services are currently provided ultimately ensuring a fairer distribution of dental resources based on the need and population.

Special care dental services, formerly known as community dental services cater for adults and children with special needs and those whose treatment needs cannot be met by an ordinary general dental practice. This can include people with learning or physical disabilities and other special needs including being homeless, people with dental phobias, children with severe decay, the elderly and housebound patients.

The services also provide restorative care – including root canal therapy, gum treatment, crowns, bridges and dentures. Additionally it provides a lead role in oral health promotion to reduce dental disease and oral health inequalities.

Donal Markey, Head of Primary Care Commissioning and Regional Lead for Dentistry, Optometry & Pharmacy (DOP), said: “For the first time, we have a single blueprint for how community dental services should be provided within London.

“These services help many of the most vulnerable people in our capital, so it is vital we ensure that they all receive high quality consistent care, no matter where they live.

“We hope that this will also ensure resources are distributed fairly across London and empower patients, so they have greater choice of where they go for treatment.”

The new specification will cover £30 million of community dental services in London for contracts awarded from June this year and due to begin in April 2017.