ADG welcomes Advancing Dental Care report – but there is an “elephant in the room”

The Association of Dental Groups has welcomed the publication of the Health Education England (HEE) Advancing Dental Care report.

Sandra White, ADG Clinical Director said;

“The engagement with key partners over the last three years is evident in the identification of key themes around flexible training, skill mix, continued learning, innovation, new routes into dental careers and an ambition to achieve equitable distribution of training places.

It is encouraging to see the work will progress over the next 4 years with the Dental Education Reform Programme and the recognition that partnership working will be critical for successful reform. ADG look forward to working with HEE to help improve dental careers which will benefit dental staff and ultimately also their patients.”

However, Neil Carmichael, Chair of the ADG warned;

“Whilst we welcome many of the report recommendations, in particular the need to streamline the cumbersome Performer List Validation by Experience (PLVE) and the concept of Centres for Dental Development to improve the dental workforce in certain areas of the country, the crisis in recruitment and retention of the NHS dental workforce is a present danger which will require other partners to take action.”

“As the report notes, this includes the “ongoing work to reform the 2006 NHS dental contract”. Over 950 dentists quit NHS work in the year 2020-21 according to recent NHS figures and our members are telling us that one of the key reasons for this is that the current ways of working in the NHS dental contract are unfit for purpose. NHS England need to tackle this elephant in the room to ensure retention of the future workforce in NHS dentistry.“

The Advancing Dental Care report from Health Education England is available here.