Tom Bysouth tells us how BDA Wales are making dentists’ voices heard and why it’s important for us all to stand together.
There’s a lot of understandable frustration among dentists at present. We’re all disheartened by the uncertainty of the situation we’re facing, the changes we have had to make to our practise and how it impacts the care we provide to our patients. However, it’s not all bad news. I’m pleased to say that we’ve been able to make some real progress on your behalf.
Representing you at the highest level
When I put your concerns to the Senedd Health Select Committee in July, I was proud to represent the concerns of dentists all over Wales and to provide a number of solutions that Welsh Government could act upon. No other organisation can represent your interests at this level, and make sure that the concerns of dentists are heard in this way. Speaking to the committee, my colleagues and I made the pandemic’s impact on the nations’ oral health and on the profession very clear.
"We ensured that there is no patient target in this financial year."
Indeed, our message to decision makers has been clear throughout the crisis. By submitting your concerns directly to government and meeting with the Chief Dental Officer, we have been able to provide members with clarity on: guidance changes, de-escalation plans and changes to NHS contracting in Wales. We ensured that there is no patient target in this financial year, whereas initially the Welsh Government wanted us to see more patients than in previous years.
We’ve also successfully canvassed MPs and MSs for support and we’re using media coverage to keep these issues at the top of the agenda. Our work has led to the re-instatement of the Trainer Grant to Educational Supervisors in Dental Foundation Training to 100%, after Welsh Government wanted to cut it to 50%. It’s also helped ensure that there was a six month suspension to Mandatory Training and Appraisals for Salaried Dentists during the pandemic.
Keeping up the pressure
We’re continuing to push for change and clarity on key issues such as: post AGP fallow time, NHS contracting, NHS contract values for AGP provision and financial support for private dentistry. We’re emphasising the massive impact on private care, the oral health effects of the shutdown and the need for full piloting of any new NHS contract system.
This week we will keep seeking clarity on free PPE provision for practices and the nature of the quality control over Government-provided PPE. We’re working hard for you, and I believe that we will continue to make progress.
Providing advice and support
This has been a confusing and stressful time for many. That’s why, we’re working hard to help keep you as up-to-date as possible. We published a live updates page so you could see the latest developments at a glance, which has been was viewed two million times. Our Wales-specific blog posts and the Wales version of our toolkit for returning to work have also helped to prepare dentists in Wales for the challenges we’ve faced.
Meanwhile, our advisory team continue to support many members with information and advice during these uncertain times. Our team has worked overtime throughout the crisis and continue to do so, to give members accurate answers to often quite detailed legal questions. It’s been all hands on deck!
"Together we are stronger, and we’ve used this strength to make the case for dentists and dentistry in Wales."
Together we are stronger, and in the last five months we’ve used this strength to make the case for dentists and dentistry in Wales. We hope that even though there are frustrations, you can see that our efforts have, are and will continue to be directed on the issues that matter most to you and your patients.
We will continue to represent your interests and keep you informed as this pandemic continues, because there’s never been a more important time for us all to stand together.
Chair, Welsh General Dental Practice Committee