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Proactive in Croydon

Croydon’s Proactive and Preventative Board brings together local stakeholders in Croydon to devise, implement and evaluate local initiatives to reduce health inequalities and improve health outcomes.

The LDC has been involved with this Board since its early inception as the Together for Health Board in 2020 and has provided the perspective of oral health and dental services on a regular basis.

With the reforms to the NHS now fully underway we expect the voice of this Board to be even stronger. This means that the LDC is in a great position to make the case for oral health within the new structure, having built up credibility and a network of support in the local area.

The LDC’s vision is:

“For local dentists to be empowered to provide the care their patients require with a supportive local network and NHS contract.”

Engaging with key stakeholders is part of that strategy. The Proactive and Preventative Board will be a central body in helping frame the local environment and strategy that will directly affect the provision of our services.

As part of the Local Care Partnership, the borough level arm of the South West London Integrated Care System, the Board will be driving information about health inequalities and developing strategies to reduce them. Part of reducing health inequalities is ensuring access to NHS dental services.

By making sure that the Board, and therefore the strategy, takes oral health into account, we push dental services up the priority list. The greater the exposure of dentistry in wider healthcare settings, the more likely that consequent barriers that exist are brought down from all parts sectors of healthcare, not just dentistry.

If the strategy to reduce health inequalities involves ensuring people are not isolated this requires them to be able to eat, speak and socialise with confidence. If it involves helping people into work, this requires them to speak and engage with people with confidence. If it involves reducing avoidable hospital presentations this requires access to prevention focussed dentistry.

But, we know that there are barriers in the contract and the wider environment that mean that NHS dentistry is not in the best shape to play its role as effectively as it could. That is why when these strategies are developed, we make the case clearly for dental services; so our local stakeholders will speak with the same voice in defence of local NHS dental services.

The current priority of the Proactive and Preventative Board for Dentistry centres around developing “Developing the South West London Primary Care Strategy” (March 2023) where all the relevant stakeholder groups input into South West London Primary Care level and Croydon based discussion. We look forward to continuing our engagement and working with our local partners to remove local system barriers and make the case for national system change so that dentistry in Croydon can also be proactive and prevention focussed.