Issue - meetings

Commissioning of Primary Care Dental Services

Meeting: 26/09/2023 - Health Policy and Performance Board (Item 15)

15 Commissioning of Primary Care Dental Services pdf icon PDF 74 KB


 The Board welcomed Tom Knight, Head of Primary Care: NHS Cheshire and Merseyside, who provided an update on the commissioning of Primary Care Dental Services.


NHS Cheshire and Merseyside had the delegated responsibility for the commissioning of dental services, including primary, community and secondary care.  It was reported that access to dental services was a local, regional and national issue impacting negatively on patients.


Post pandemic, the restoration and recovery of primary care dental provision was part of the NHS Operational Plan for 2023/24, with the expectation being that activity would return to pre pandemic levels. Practices continued to recover, supported by commissioners alongside a small number of national contract changes allowing some flexibilities focussed on improving access and increasing activity.


The report provided details of dental provision in Halton currently, through 13 practices.  It also advised of the development of the Dental Improvement Plan, which signalled NHS Cheshire and Merseyside’s commitment and ambition to ensure that access was improved for routine, urgent and dental care for the most vulnerable populations and communities impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.  The Plan was submitted to the ICB System Primary Care Board on 22 June 2023 for approval and identified the key strategic aims; these were outlined in the report.  


Following presentation of the item, the following comments were made by Members and some additional information was provided in response:


·         The pandemic had made a huge impact on the oral health of the population nationally, including children.  There were now more patients than ever requiring more treatment, resulting in a backlog;

·         Staff retention – a workforce plan was being developed; it was important to understand what would encourage dentists to stay in the NHS and the offer required for this to be achieved;

·         It was felt that the current contracts were unworkable;

·         It was not just about the money – dentists had ambitions to achieve just like anyone else, these were restricted within the NHS which is why they turned to the private sector;

·         Commissioners were working hard with providers to get more dentists signed up;

·         It was confirmed that currently Halton’s practices were not taking any more new patients – the list of the 13 practices would be sent following the meeting;

·         The hard work of NHS dentists was recognised;

·         Care home providers were struggling to get dentists in for residents – the requirements for care home residents had changed in recent years due to them having better teeth.  Care home staff were being supported with encouraging better hygiene amongst residents – this aspect forms part of the Dental Improvement Plan;

·         Halton had the lowest number of children being seen by a dentist in Cheshire and Merseyside; and

·         Emergency telephone number for Halton – was discussed and requested to be an 0800 number like Manchester – Mr Knight would check if this was possible and report back.


Mr Knight was thanked for his presentation and the Chair invited him back to a future meeting when more data would be available on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15