The restructure of the Camden and Islington LDC presents an opportunity to reboot our way of thinking and our way of working.
We know that dentists face an increasingly difficult environment in which to work. We face a range of barriers which makes meeting NHS contractual targets difficult. The system we work in does not work for us. If it does not work for us it is not working for patients. The reliance on patient charges, the perverse structure of UDAs, the lack of investment in integration have all kept NHS dentistry on the periphery.
This is why the Camden and Islington Board has agreed a new vision to take the LDC and our work forward. We want to see:
Dentists of Camden and Islington supported to help reduce health inequalities and improve health outcomes.
This simple statement shows our commitment to working on behalf of members, with stakeholders and with patients to ensure that dentists can do what they do best: provide life changing care.
To bring our vision to life we have explained what we will do through our mission:
To increase awareness of the importance and role of oral health and primary care NHS dentists in reducing health inequalities and improving health outcomes among local stakeholders.
By working closely with stakeholders, understanding their priorities and explaining how dentistry and oral health helps them we aim to achieve improvements to the NHS dental system.
This is not going to happen overnight but will require patience and investment from our profession. We will need members to step forward and take on pieces of work such as working with local Healthwatch to ensure the patient perspective is informed and heard; working with the Integrated Care Partnership to ensure that local plans involve dentistry and create effective pathways; working with local training hubs to ensure that colleagues understand oral health and that training is suitable for the dental team.
Our restructure has removed the barrier to engagement which previously required members to be elected to a Committee. Now all members can and will be supported to work with the Board on specific topics, driving real change for our profession in the local area. There are inequalities for patients in accessing dental care and inequalities for dentists versus the rest of the NHS. Working together as a profession we can address both.