The Scottish Dental Practice Committee met on Wednesday 6 September 2017 at the BDA Scotland office. Here is a report of the meeting.
1. Guest Invitation to a Young Associate Dentist
SDPC welcomed Caroline Pryce, a dental Associate, from Lanarkshire LDC who had been invited as a guest of SDPC in an attempt to encourage younger dentists to become involved with dental politics, BDA committees, and also to seek their views on the current topics.
2. DDRB Recommendations and Scottish Government Pay Award
It was noted that Scottish Government had accepted the DDRB recommendations for general dental practitioners (GDPs) in 2017/18 of 1% on pay, net of expenses. Following an earlier meeting between SDPC and the Chief Dental Officer (CDO) and the provision of a paper with a breakdown of dental expenses totalling £23.1m, Scottish Government announced a 2.25% increase in item of service fees, up from 1.61% in 2016/17. It was understood payment would be made in October 2017 backdated to April 2017. A further announcement had been made the previous day by Scottish Government to that the 1% cap on public sector pay rises in Scotland would be scrapped next year, although future pay rises would be based on the cost of living.
3. Scottish Government Consultation – The Future of Oral Health
It was reported that Scottish Government published an Analysis of Responses in June 2017 to their Consultation Exercise on the Future of Oral Health, and that they aim to publish an Oral Health Improvement Plan by the end of 2017.
4. Occupational Health Service Funding
The matter of OHS funding for GDPs was raised again by the SDPC Executive Sub-Committee at a meeting with the CDO on 23 August 2017. The Chair had written a second letter to the CDO with less clinical detail as requested in July. The CDO was unaware of receipt of the letter. Post Meeting Note: The CDO apologised that this letter had be mislaid by Scottish Government and she confirmed the matter would be addressed.
5. Information Services Division Registration Data
BDA Scotland and SDPC representatives met with Practitioner Services Division (PSD) in August 2017. It was noted that the e-dental programme was progressing, with the deadline for paper submissions and payment for prior approval being set for 31 December 2017. It would become unlawful to submit paper documents after this date. It was also reported that the PSD data to be included in the Scottish Dental Practice Board annual report was ready and prepared. The report was due for publication in September, however, this was to be delayed until January 2018 to allow Information Services Division to amend some of their registration data. SDPC reviewed a number of Parliamentary Questions on the matter and agreed to seek further information on 149,261 ‘unknown’ registrations listed in a response from the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport.
6. Meeting with Alan Whittet, Senior Dental Adviser, Practitioner Services Division
The Chair reported that BDA Scotland and SDPC representatives had held a very useful and worthwhile introductory meeting with A Whittet, Senior Dental Adviser in August. It was agreed that it would be beneficial to all parties to have a good working relationship with A Whittet and his team and that it should be a close and transparent one working towards eliminating the ‘Them and Us Environment’. A Whittet explained that whilst the statutory role of PSD was to ensure that the dental care and treatment provided, or to be provided if prior approval is required: is appropriate: and is necessary to secure and maintain the patient’s oral health; is in the patient’s best interests; and has or will be carried out with proper skill and attention, he sees his role as a more educational one.
7. Scottish Government Rent Revaluation Exercise
Nicola Kaya reported that Scottish Government were currently tendering for a Valuer to undertake a practice premises revaluation exercise wef 1 April 2018. This includes a desk top exercise for all qualifying practices: should there have been a substantial change to the premises following the 2015 exercise, any inconsistencies between information provided by participating practice and the information held by the NHS Board. It was noted that during the previous exercise, it had come to light that some dental practices were not using all of their premises for dentistry.
8. Worldwide Shortage of the Hepatitis B Vaccine
It was noted that there was currently a worldwide shortage of Hepatitis B vaccine, and that inconsistent advice was being provided to dentists in Scotland by NHS Highland and in England by Public Health England. NHS Highland was advising that ‘priority should be given to vaccinate those staff partly way through a course to ensure its completion and staff who made needed a booster following e.g. a sharps injury, and that being unvaccinated should not stop staff working with patients. Advice from Public Health England was for dentists coming from non-UK universities, if not already vaccinated, who are trying to get on the Performers List, and other members of the wider dental team e.g. dental nurses and hygienists may need to restrict certain activities until the vaccine becomes available. BDA advice to members noted that the defence unions would not be able to provide cover for dental staff, e.g. nurses and hygienists if not fully vaccinated. The Executive Sub-Committee had raised this issue with the CDO in August and were informed that the Deputy CDO would provide written guidance to all dental practitioners shortly.
9. Ongoing Items for Future Discussion
Minamata Convention on Amalgam
Development Programme for Adult Dental Services Working Group
The next meeting will take place on Wednesday 21 February 2018 at 13.30hrs at the BDA Scotland office.