British Association of Dental Therapists

Representing dental therapists since 1962

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President’s January blog 2018

Time to reflect and Plan Ahead.


Happy New Year everyone and welcome to the end of January 2018. It’s been a windy, wet and sometimes snowy January here in Rutland. But we are nearly there. The snowdrops are popping up all over the place and spring can’t be too far away.


Talking of ‘all over the place’. The merits/ and some ill -perceived disadvantages of our Profession and other DCP groups are being discussed all over the playing fields of Dentistry at the moment. This is due to the development and realisation of the DOH (Department of Health) and HEE (Health Education England) initiative, ‘Advancing Dental Care project.’ This is going to re-structure the way Dentistry is taught in the UK.


What’s really exciting is that Dental Therapy is being recognised as a robust sound platform to build a dental career on. The pilot going ahead at Liverpool will put Dental Hygiene/Therapists and Dental students entering at BDS all through the same 3 year dental programme. Those emerging as the most proficient in practical and academic terms will be able to go on to do 2 more years to become a Dental Surgeon.


As you can imagine, this is a huge sea change and is either genius or madness. But what we have at the moment doesn’t really work. The skillset/academic balance isn’t quite there. We have newly qualified dentists who are hugely academic with some areas of their practical skillset in question and you have Therapists not being able to work within the NHS contract post qualification. We cannot then use our skillset and some of us are losing these valuable skills. Either way, the patient is losing out from every aspect.


Peter Ward from the BDA has written a somewhat divisive editorial this week in the BDJ. (; Dentistry Jim but not as we know it!)

Dentists are feeling very under threat as the BDS is going to morph, evolve and change. I don’t think it will disappear as a qualification but there will be definite changes. And understandably change brings fear – it’s the human condition. What concerns me is that DCP’s are being looked on as cheap labour and easily manipulated. I don’t think we are either of these things and we need to keep going forward with our professional heads on whilst this plays out. The findings will be put to Government in April 2018.  As soon as I know anything I will communicate any developments.


So moving swiftly on. Conference planning is reaching its conclusion and we should be able to present it to you next month. Please save the date for the 28/29th September 2018.


Therapy retraining modules are due to start in June 2018 at Kettering and Lincoln HEE skills rooms. We are just finalising learning outcomes and costing’s as I write this. The centres will be able to cater for 10-12 delegates and we have secured Nik Sethi for the adult restorative days and Francesca Soldani from the NW, a Paediatric specialist for the child restorative day. We will run the course in the Northwest and in the South of England following this round in East Midlands. Please keep an eye on the web site for developments, as this is imminent.


So here’s to the New Year and new opportunities ahead: I have had a letter from the Department of Health from the Under- secretary Steve Brine. We will go and meet his team to discuss access and contract problems as soon as we can get a date in the diary.


The letter from Steve is in Therapy update, which is due to drop on your mat next week.


To finish I attach a letter from Fiona Sandom our immediate Past President. This will provide an update on the Prescribing project.


Best wishes and keep warm!




Letter to the Dental Therapist Community ; January 2018.


Update on “Exemptions”


Dear all,


Over the last 3 months Michaela and I have been very busy writing up the two “Cases of Need” (one for dental hygienists and one for dental therapists) to enable us to use exemptions in medicine legislation. The Programme Board reviewed the cases on the 19th of December and these are now to be assessed by the NHS England medical and nursing SMTs, before then being reviewed by the Non-Medical Prescribing Board. The cases were well received and there are some minor tweaks being made.


We would like to thank our members for their support and input, but would like to remind you that there is still a very on way to go. If Ministers give us the go ahead for a consultation this may take place over the summer. It would be helpful if you could start talking about this with members of the dental team and your patients and feedback any comments that they may have.


We would like to stress that it will be shoulders to the wheel for a while yet and it’s definitely not a done deal, so we need your help and support to make this a reality.


We will be at the following events to update further on the campaign


19th January        Project fundraiser

24th April              Liverpool for HEE North West

18th & 19thMay Dentistry Show

28th September BADT Conference, Oxford



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