SpaDental supports Dental Check by 1
17th October 2023
SpaDental Children's Days are great fun for the staff, and we hope it's fun for children too! Read on for… read more
SpaDental responded to the Heath and Social Care Committee call for evidence on the state of NHS Dental Care. The key questions we replied to in our submission were:
The Health and Social Care Committee report cites Spadental. You can read our submission here: Committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/117225/pdf/
NHS dentistry – Ninth Report of Session 2022–23
Published on 14 July 2023, by authority of the House of Commons
On 16th May the GDC announced that they have at last responded to demand for opportunities to sit the Overseas Registration Exam (ORE). They have raised the number of places for the Part 1 examination in August from 200 to 600.
Successful candidates will, however, still need the opportunity to take Part 2 of the examination, a practical, before they can work as dentists.
We are grateful to everyone, from patients to ministers, for helping to raise concerns affecting patients, and the dental sector.
SpaDental continues to share ideas and information to improve access to NHS dentistry. In the House of Commons, on 27th April, Steve Brine MP, Chair of the Health and Social Care Committee, cited SpaDental as a source of information as he expressed concern for the dearth of Overseas Registration Examinations (ORE) needed to allow dentists qualified overseas to work as dentists in the UK.
Earlier this year, SpaDental’s Managing Director submitted a lengthy response to The Health and Social Care Committee request for information for their inquiry into dentistry following a survey revealing 90% of practices across the UK are not accepting new adult NHS patients.
“When should I contact my MP?”
We urge you to contact your MP to let her/him know about the problems you are having with access to NHS dental care.
To summarise the main areas of concern:
Please express your concerns to your MP and ask them to attend heath care debates to represent your views.
“Communities across England have made it clear that NHS dentistry needs to be fixed – so it’s affordable and accessible.” Healthwatch.co.uk
A combination of the pandemic and Brexit has led to a shortage of dentists in England impacting on the number of appointments available for NHS dental treatment. In short, the result is that there are simply not enough dentists. At SpaDental, for example, we have staff who returned to Europe because of Brexit, or who took early retirement rather than continue to work during the pandemic.
Foreseeing the problem, we put a lot of time into recruiting. We have hired dentists qualified overseas to work as therapists until the GDC registers them as dentists. Unfortunately, we are not able to hire UK qualified dentists to take on adult NHS work, even though our rates are competitive and working conditions are good.
Last April, the government introduced a ‘multi-skilled’ approach to NHS dentistry, allowing therapists and nurses to participate directly in patient treatment. This follows a model applied in the private sector for many years.
The new regulations allow a Dental Care Professional (DCP) to provide direct access treatment to NHS patients within their scope of practice, skill and experience. This provision is important as it enables us to triage patients’ needs so a dental therapist, for example, can provide some treatments that previously required the involvement of a GDC registered dentist.
It is particularly beneficial for younger children’s appointments; they can access NHS funded treatment with a dental therapist. Most treatment for children under 12 focuses on preventive care advice, and fillings in deciduous teeth, which are within a therapists’ clinical scope of practice.
We are often asked why we aren’t accepting adults but we accept children. The answer is that teenagers and adults often have treatment needs that are outside the GDC Scope of Practice for a Dental Therapist. When a therapist comes across a problem they are not allowed to treat, they must refer it to a dentist, but there are simply not enough dentists offering NHS funded clinical time.
Foreseeing a shortage of dentists, SpaDental hired dentists qualified overseas. To register as a dentist with the GDC, they must pass two Overseas Registration Examinations. An additional sitting of these important examinations in November 2022 has not transpired and, at the time of publishing this, a date for the next ORE Part 1 is not indicated.
Moreover, the GDC has reduced the frequency of ORE exams, with only two sittings of ORE Part 1 since August 2019. There are hundreds of overseas qualified dentists in the UK waiting for the GDC to provide them with an opportunity to prove their skill and provide treatment to the UK public.
The GDC explains: “Making changes to our routes to international registration is not a fast process and will require careful consideration of the measures to protect the public and to establish new processes.”
The GDC has failed to provide any guidance or timeline as to when they intend providing additional examinations or simplify the international registration process.
Unfortunately, although the GDC is tasked to protect the oral health of the public, by failing to facilitate the registration of enough qualified clinicians, their processes are having the opposite effect.
You can help by contacting your local MP’s office to let them know how you feel about the lack of access to NHS dental care.
The lack of NHS dentistry in England, cannot be fixed by individual dental practices. It requires the political will of your MPs.
The SpaDental team continues to try to help patients last treated as an NHS patient at our practices with emergency care but it is increasingly difficult. The treatment provided depends on the staffing recruited to the practice.
We need a solution for the provision of NHS care to be facilitated by the government.
Meanwhile, we will continue to provide NHS dental care where we can, but we anticipate provision will continue to contract.
Our sincere thanks to you for your continued understanding of the current circumstances, which will only improve when there is the political will to bring about change.
Please contact your local MP to demand change.
A Pleasant Experience @ Spa Dental Glastonbury "Friendly staff. This was my first visit to this dental practice and found the staff very friendly and reassuring. I had an initial assessment by the therapist who did an assessment prior to my next appointment. He was very good and explained carefully the treatment I needed in a professional manner! Overall I was impressed by the whole experience." "I went in today for a tooth extraction, my…More Testimonials
"Better than you could ever imagine - As always everyone involved with Spadental treats you with respect and dignity. Happy to have a friendly chat and always seem genuinely interested. I always leave the practice feeling happy- which might seem strange after just having dental treatment but that's the affect all the team always seem to have on me. Arranged a follow up appointment the very next day, as a cancellation had just come in.…More Testimonials
"Lovely staff - I have been with you for 17 years and I am still coming to you. Every one is so helpful and always talks to you." LE Thank you for your reviews The staff at SpaDental Chard feel proud to read your reviews. Your lovely comments, and your good opinion mean a lot to us. We appreciate the time and thought you put into writing about how your visit to the dentist went.…More Testimonials
It hasn't been an easy year, but our patients have been so understanding. Thank you all so very much for your kind support and the lovely feedback we've received. Your kind support is very motivating It means a lot to the SpaDental Chard team to read your feedback. Your feedback is important to us as it helps us work on continual improvement of our services. Our sincere thanks to all of you have taken the…More Testimonials
We've been catching up with our patients to find out how their treatment has been over the last months. This has been such a hard year for many of us, personally and professionally, and access to dental care has been affected in many ways by the pandemic. We'd really like to take this opportunity, therefore, to thank you for your understanding. We know that you have had to cope with cancellations and changes to our…More Testimonials
With the ups and downs of the last year, we'd like to take this opportunity to thank all of our patients for your support and understanding. Your thoughtfulness is reflected in the considerate comments we've received in response to our request for feedback. We truly appreciate your kind thoughts. Thank you from all of us for your lovely reviews of SpaDental Tewkesbury. A selection of your reviews: "The service during the last few months has…More Testimonials
SpaDental Whitchurch dentist is accepting new private patients. A new patient testimonial After the closure of my local dentist in Whitchurch I telephoned Spa Dental who made me an appointment. Unfortunately I had an abscess on my tooth before my appointment date, for which I was given an emergency appointment. I am a very nervous patient and it took a long time to build confidence with my old dentist , therefore my nerves were bad and I…More Testimonials
Kind words from our patients mean a lot to us. Thank you! We're very happy to read reviews that commend the Plymouth team and the dentists "excellent care" and "professional service". Recent patient reviews commend our excellent care: "In safe and caring hands - Without exception the treatment I have received has been outstanding. From the reception staff through each of the individuals involved, their focus is on you and you're fully involved in any…More Testimonials
We very much enjoyed reading the lovely Saltash patient reviews we've received in response to our recent request for feedback. On behalf of all the staff, thank you so much for your lovely comments. We sincerely appreciate your kind words, and will also use your recommendations in our planning. SpaDental considers your review comments carefully. We read them all, and use the information we gather to guide our practice so we can keep on improving…More Testimonials
A very appreciative thank you to our patients from the clinicians and staff at SpaDental Chard. It has been a pleasure reading your comments because if our patients are happy, then we're happy. Feedback about the team and treatment from SpaDental Chard reviews "Everyone in the practice is efficient, professional and knowledgeable." - HCG "5 Star Dental Care - Being in the centre of Chard, [the SpaDental] surgery is easily accessible for most patients. The…More Testimonials