Hello Lancashire: things have been rather hectic over the summer from my perspective. Normally the NHS dies over the summer but a number of issues and situations have arisen to keep us busy! Memory Lane - in line with the intended trip down memory lane for me as a GDP I intend to pick up Radiation Protection in this issue of the newsletter. This is a quick one as there wasn’t any! My first xray machine stood precariously on three legs, it was that weird “hospital beige colour” and probably scattered xrays all over the place. The taking of xrays was a “point and hope” procedure and everyone apart from the patient left the room! There was no IRMER, no IRR99, no certification, no servicing, no audit or training – in fact nothing at all!! All films were developed in the back room with the lights out – oh and by the way developing xrays was a manual process and there was no monitoring or formal audit. If your xrays were not turning out OK you simply did something about it! Such was dentistry in the seventies – some of you will remember and some of you younger ones will shrink back in horror! Communication: let’s keep this going as it is an essential element of keeping everyone up to speed with the current situation. The website and mailing list is key to this so please do tell you colleagues to get registered in order to receive the free, up to date information we send out on a regular basis. Bear in mind that these details are currently utilised to get info out quickly especially if it is an urgent issue – so get registered and KEEP IN TOUCH. Occupational Health: a couple of years ago we did a piece of work with the four Occupational Health Departments across the county to agree a protocol for the treatment of sharps injuries in dental practice. The protocol works fine but the system has been breaking down with respect to end point delivery. This situation is simply not acceptable particularly for a profession that uses so many sharp instruments. The situation is now being revisited and work is ongoing with the Area Team and the Trusts to improve end point delivery. This work is underpinned by the Commissioning Guide to Occupational Health Services which has recently been released. The big difference will be that now the service will be commissioned and therefore there will be some clout to ensure services meet the spec. As always I will keep you updated as to progress. Healthwatch: Healthwatch England produced a discussion document on a “Patients' Guide to Dental Complaints” which was sent to the BDA for comment. All LDCs were asked to give feedback which we did. The BDA then collated the response to Healthwatch. We were also asked to send our comments directly to Healthwatch which I did. Some of the guidance was heavily biased towards encouraging the patients to go straight to higher bodies such as the GDC. The main thrust of our response was to push the process back to where it used to be and encourage local resolution. I have recently received the last draft of the document and have sent back some further comments – let’s see where this goes now. The documents, responses etc are available on the website. Multidisciplinary Community Provider (MCP): another development the BDA asked us for comments on is the Multidisciplinary Community Provider. This is mainly a medical initiative and looks like a number of medical practices joining up and providing a range of community services across a geographical area. I could only see dentistry mentioned once in the document but as with all these things we tend to get bolted on the side as an afterthought. According to our LMC colleagues they feel that MCPs are emerging in response to newly qualified medics wanting salaried positions rather than having to develop and run their own practices – we have it on the radar and are in close contact with the BDA and the LMC. If you can’t get to sleep at night and want some bedtime reading the document is on the internet! PAG/PLDP: as some of you are already aware we do have LDC reps on both the performer management groups. To explain – firstly there is the Performer Advisory Group (PAG) which considers the more serious complaints and concerns that come in to the Area Team. The group is multidisciplinary and covers the four independent contractor professions. Outcomes may be to drop further action, keep a watching brief on the situation or may be onward referral for either remedial support or further action from the Performers List Decision Panel (PLDP). The PLDP is also a multi disciplinary group and has a great depth of clinical input. This PLDP further assesses the circumstances surrounding the case and may consider removal from the Performers List if appropriate and potential referral on to the GDC. So what is the LDC role in these two groups? Basically we have reps on there to ensure due process is followed and fully informed appropriate decisions are taken following correct clinical input to the groups. For information our reps for Lancashire are as follows PAG – Mike Cheadle PLDP – John Edwards/Mike Jolly What we are also working on is giving feedback to the profession on how responses to complaints and concerns are presented to patients by way of response letters. Mike Cheadle is working on some advice which will be posted shortly on the website. If you have any queries on the PAG or PLDP feel free to contact the reps as above – you can do this via the website. Routine Care Network: the RCN have an input into just about everything that happens from the strategic and quality aspect at the Area Team. The Network is working very hard and the members are fully committed to the task in hand. We have the “Local Champions” communication chain set up – please be aware of who your own “Local Champion” is for future reference. In order to see what the RCN is doing have a look at the website where we post the report that goes from the RCN to the Local Dental Network. Contact details for the Local Champions can be found on the LDC website. Just one more thing: Washing lines: what I find amazing is how many people hang out their washing in full view of passing traffic! Weird really that anyone would wish to have complete strangers waiting in traffic jams cast an eye over their “smalls” (or in most cases “bigs”) hung out to dry! I suppose this relates back to the old expression “Don’t hang your dirty washing out in public!!” Bags for life: I recently bought some shopping and in the process acquired a “Bag for Life” I said to the chap behind the till “so that will last me all my life will it?” he said “depends how long you live!” So much for customer relations!! That’s all for now folks Onwards and upwards

Bernard Bernard Alston Sec Lancs LDC Exec

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