In May, the ICB Board approved a range of recommendations that seek to improve dentistry across West Yorkshire, for both patients and the profession. We aim to
- Improve access to dental services through the way we plan and fund services
- Develop a long-term dental workforce plan
- Work with local authorities on oral health improvement and prevention.
We have developed this ambition with clinical leads and experts across the system. The way in which we plan and deliver the ambition will be co-produced, for example using forums such as the West Yorkshire Oral Health Action Group to support opportunities for collaborative working with public health colleagues.
We are also committed to working nationally in our collective interests, for example, through influencing policy decisions, discussion on water fluoridation and the development of the dental contract.
The challenges in access and the quality of oral health that both the profession and public tell us about are significant, often longstanding, and may not have immediate long-term solutions. We know that this is frustrating and has a profound impact on people’s lives.
We are eager to maximise the impact we can make immediately as well as over the medium and long term. We have already developed, with experts in the profession, a proposal to invest an additional £4.5m this financial year. This investment will continue access to urgent dental care for all people in West Yorkshire, enhance or introduce access initiatives aimed at specific population groups, and invest in prevention work.
At the same time, we are working on an innovative and ambitious approach to flexible commissioning, developing policies and approaches with the profession that aim to prevent a deterioration in access, and in the process of establishing a public reference group for dentistry, as well as looking at where we can improve communications.