February 2014 Newsletter

Bernard's News Update

Hello Lancashire

Hope you are all well and managing to keep yourselves above the waterline in what must be the wettest winter I can remember. At least up in good old Lancashire we have remained reasonably dry compared to those in the South West!

As for developments; it is still slow progress and shortly the year end will be upon us again so that will inevitably take up a considerable amount of time for the Area Team. The contract reform outcomes again are moving slowly. There have been issues for some of the pilot sites in terms not managing to meet UDA targets and this does seem fundamentally unfair under the circumstances. As always we will work with the Area Team to get the best possible outcome for those practices.

I do feel that if it was left up to us in Lancashire to sort out the delivery of an efficient effective NHS dental service then we could do it. What makes it difficult are the national directives that are thrust down on us from the centre. Despite this the work being done by the Local Dental Network (LDN) is looking to lead with local innovation whilst meeting the central dictates – not always easy but there is strong support from the profession feeding through the sub groups into the LDN. Thanks is due to all those hard working grass roots practitioners who are giving up their spare time to attend these meetings of these various networks by which I mean - MOSS / Routine Care / Special Care / Preventive / Ortho.

The fundamental problem with the system as it is now has to be the issue of dental contracts being monitored on UDA activity whereas Area Teams are monitored on 24 month patient figures – apples and pears spring to mind! Great importance is given to the issue of 24 month access figure by the centre yet this is not the important factor for GDPs who have to meet UDA targets.

We need to be radical and innovative if we are going to turn NHS dentistry around and ensure a quality service however as above the centre does not seem to “get it”. Through the LDN we are looking at different ways of delivering dentistry and these are being tested on a minor scale; the outcomes to be fed back into the LDN and consequently in the newsletter at a future date.

Having said what I have just said we must remember that we do lead the way in Lancashire in a number of areas – so much so that I have heard it said in higher circles “Not Lancashire again!” I refer to initiatives such as our LDN and sub groups, our appraisal scheme (more on that in a while) our Minor Oral Surgery Service (MOSS), our pathway / referral work within Ortho / Special Care / MOSS / Unscheduled Dental Care. Our Local Dental Helplines and EDS services run very well and we can say that no-one in Lancashire needs to suffer with untreated dental pain.

What we need to do through our LDN is to thrust this innovation forward and engage fully with our excellent dental workforce to ensure steady support for dental businesses. The workforce must feel valued and listened to and I do think we have made some progress locally with this.

Anyway – rant over! (but I do mean it)

Quick updates:

Moss – rolling out to all of Lancashire under three slightly different referral processes. National guidance is awaited (as said above!) but we do have all angles covered. It is essential in the decision making process that referrers as grass roots practitioners are listened to at all times. We are doing this now through the Liaison Meetings and the LDN.

Appraisal – bid has gone into the pot for recurrent funding in order for the scheme to start in the new financial year – let’s hope that at last this does happen

Just one more thing: I did mention at the end of last year that I had received some “Great News” from Asda in that because a near neighbour was having a Home Shopping delivery in the same time slot then we would be given a 50p discount – fantastic! To add to this though last week – guess what? – another cheery email dropped through to say there was more “Great News” from Asda and due to the same circumstances we were entitiled to yet another 50p credit – fantastic I hear you say, however, it does cause me some concern because I am not sure of the inevitable tax implications, because they do not say if it is a tax free credit or if the tax is deducted a source – what do I do? Should I declare it as a gift and put it on the gift register? My accountant is on with it now and I am awaiting a response from both the BDA and Dental Defence. I will update you as to the outcome because any of you could be put in the same difficult position.

Another thing: if you shop online at at Asda you enter your details and there are drop down boxes stating “Mr” “Mrs” etc but if you go down far enough there is one that says “Lord”. I said to the misses that I thought that Lord Alston would impress the Postman or we could hide when he came so it went to one of the neighbours! Needless to say I was not allowed to get away with it!

As usual do not hesitate to contact me if you have any issues or suggestions

Contact email –

Onwards and Upwards


Bernard AlstonSec Lancs LDC Exec

Website News

Hi all,

The IT systems used by the BSA are about to change, to a system called Compass. There is an initial briefing on the 'Library' page of the website, and more information to follow. You'll also see a new section containing the minutes from the Local Dental Network (LDN) meetings - so you can see the discussions mentioned by Bernard (above).

If you missed it, the website is now iPad / iPhone / tablet friendly - if you have any issues registering or logging in then please let me know by email -

If you know anyone who would benefit from this newsletter, please ask them to register for the website so they can be added to the mailing-list.

Regards, Stuart