In October, the LDC brought all relevant stakeholders or oral health in Kingston together: The Local Council, the Community Dental Services, the Paediatric Managed Clinical Network, the Special Care Managed Clinical Network and the consultant in dental public health.
The purpose of this meeting was to gather all relevant stakeholders together to gain a better understanding of the oral health situation in the Kingston borough and how dentistry can be integrated into the solution.
Analysis of JSNA (Joint Strategic Needs Assessment) data revealed the impact of children’s oral health on hospital admissions. A plan for children’s oral health promotion and prevention has been established by the Council. This plan will extend its activities to an additional 10 schools. The reintroduction of tooth brushing packs through health visitors and a focus on nursery settings are part of the strategy, and this initiative is funded for a four-year period. A steering group, which will include the Local Dental Committee (LDC), will assess outcomes. School prioritisation will be based on factors such as deprivation and free school meals. Nurseries have shown receptiveness to oral health improvement plans.
Questions were raised regarding the integration of the local authority to the Integrated Care Board (ICB) and Local Care Partnership. Kingston Council’s Director of Public Health serves as the place convenor for Kingston and the ICB, and expressed a desire to increase the level of interest and knowledge about dentistry in other boroughs. We will continue to do what we can to ensure much closer working of all stakeholders.
Concerns were raised about dental capacity in Kingston, and what availability there is to see new patients. The members of the group were keen to avoid creating a demand for practices that cannot be met, instead agreeing to ensure that access programmes and messages are aligned with actual availability. We briefly discussed the challenges faced by primary care dental practices and how ongoing continual care differs from emergency care – either at practice level or ad hoc via 111.
Oral health promotion in care homes is being provided by the Community Dental Services, including online training. An online platform, developed by a consultant in dental public health, is being promoted for use. Discussions are underway regarding how to promote this platform to care homes and those providing domiciliary care, with close collaboration between the Community Dental Services and consultants in dental public health.
The local authority public health team is aware of the oral health issues facing the borough. They are receptive to introducing change and working with other stakeholders. The meeting concluded with stakeholders becoming more connected, aiming to bring about change, and nurturing the hope that Kingston will one day serve as the model.