New Year's Newsletter

Hello Lancashire and South Cumbria: Happy New Year to you all! Another one past us by and we did not notice it because yet again it went so quickly!

Festive Tunes – what is apparent every Christmas is that there are no new Festive songs being produced. In fact when we get to Boxing Day everyone is so fed up of the same old, same old! At the Exec we thought we would offer a critics review of the Festive songs.

First off the mark and the herald of Christmas is the Pogues with the Fairy Tale of New York – particularly pertinent to us Dentists because lead singer Shane Mc Gowan is a dental disaster with a dentition that resembles a row of bombed houses. Good old Shane normally surfaces around mid November and is the first sign of Christmas. No mention of the Dental Helpline Number or 111 in the song however, despite the fact that with his teeth he will no doubt need to access EDS services over the Festive Period!

Where would we be without Michael Buble (sorry no acute accent since Brexit) MB must hold the record for singing cover versions of every Christmas song ever written. At the Exec we ask the question – what does Michael do for the other 10 months of the year!

Some of the few Christmas songs Michael did not cover are

  • Slade – “So here it is Merry Christmas” – Noddy Holder screaming his larynx out – Michael can’t do that

  • Wizard –“ I wish it could be Christmas every day” – well I would imagine Michael does – think of the royalties!

  • Elton John – “Step into Christmas” – Michael certainly is eager to step in!

  • Johnny Mathis – When a Child is born – immediate questions we ask are

  1. Is Johnny aware of Dental Checks by two (nee one)

  2. The song just does not mention Starting Well!

  3. There is also scant reference to DBOH

Not good Johnny you have been flagged up by the Area Team as an outlier and Dave Bradley will be dropping round to see you!

So how about some future songs for Christmas. The Exec have agreed as an action to assist with the lyrics and ensure all dental aspects are covered.

How about something from Ed Sheeran as he produces songs every five minutes. Could he be the new Buble? He might be able to do some as duets with the Italian chap!

Lets wait and see!

To more serious matters...

Actions we had from the last newsletter were

  1. AMR sign off and distribution – this was to ensure other Healthcare Professionals realised why we were not dishing out antimicrobials randomly at the whim and fancy of patients - done - circulated by the Area Team to GPs and other Healthcare Professionals

  2. Feedback from John Milne, Senior Dental Advisor to the CQC – very good presentation from John at our November liaison Meeting. As you will all know John is a recognised “Dental Voice” and has a pragmatic approach to the developing CQC inspection processes. We fed back the CQC experiences that had been reported in to us and he completely understands the frustrations practitioners have encountered. John is also impressed by our developing DPASS scheme. In the meantime please do flag up any issues you may have with the CQC to me and I will follow them up now we have the contact.

  3. Hep B crisis actions – Occy Health- this has caused major issues for all clinical personnel particularly around recruitment processes and is a totally scandalous situation. Whoever let a global crisis get to be a global crisis in the first place – big lesson learnt exercise for the centre! From both a national and a local perspective we were completely left high and dry. To put it into perspective Lancashire Teaching Hospitals across two sites are only allocated 5 doses of vaccine per month. Hospitals were therefore left with the situation whereby all supplies had to be saved for sharps injuries. From the Exec perspective we took the issue to the Local Dental Network and Eric Rooney approached the appropriate people at the centre in his capacity as Deputy CDO. We did get out all the information we could get hold of from Public Health England in order to keep you all updated, but unfortunately it was not all good news. Lets hope that 2018 sees a resolution to the problem and lessons learnt avoid a recurrence. Thanks go to both Eric Rooney and Mel Catleugh for their support with this problem.

Last year’s review:

It was a busy year for the LDC Exec in 2017. We had a huge workload during the year with some tricky situations to resolve. I have summarised some of what went on in 2017

Website review: if you go onto the website regularly you will see the changes implemented by Stuart, both to reflect the inclusion of South Cumbria, and the additional information sections. If you do not visit the site regularly then please do, because there is much information available for reference from a number of sources; and if you have colleagues who are not registered then please urge them to do so. Also don’t forget the site is open to Practice Managers. We have beefed up the Recruitment/Vacancies section and will be continuing to develop the Guidance and Pathways section to be a source of information around clinical governance issues such as the new IRR/IRMER regs. We circulated some info at the back end of last year courtesy of Dave Bradley our DPA and his advice features regularly on this page.

S Cumbria recruitment: since the inclusion of S Cumbria we have realised that the area does suffer from a recruitment problem. Why is that we have to say – who would not want to work in the Lake District? Many of us spend time up there on holiday so why not consider moving up there to work so the Lakes are on your doorstep. If there is any interest out there please consult the vacancies section on the website. As the Exec we will continue to encourage practitioners to consider the Lakeland Life

Funding for sharps injuries: this again has been a bone of contention amongst all the healthcare practitioners in that practitioners or staff were having to pay hundreds of pounds out of their own pockets to receive any appropriate PEP and/or follow up care from Occupational Health. The whole problem will be addressed following the procurement process for an Occupational Health Service across the Area Team patch with a spec and KPIs to ensure appropriate and timely services are delivered. In the meantime though we still have the issue of funding for sharps injuries. As the Exec we joined with the Local Medical Committee and the Area Team in looking to get an interim solution in place funded by NHS England. This is now going forward and we will communicate more information when it becomes available

Translation Services: funding for Translation services has been an issue in some areas of the patch that has been escalated with the arrival of a large number of refugees. Following much discussion at the LDC/Area Team Liaison meeting, some funding has now been located and information will be coming out from NHS England soon.

DPASS –the LDC owned DPASS scheme was resurrected during last year. By the end of 2017 we had managed to get 5 cases closed at the Performers Advisory Group, which enabled the practitioners to get on with their lives without the stress hanging over them. As I said earlier we have a good response from the CQC via John Milne and also I gave a presentation on DPASS as part of an HEE/LDC hosted event over in East Lancs last November; focused around the process of performance management at the GDC/CQC/NHS England. During the day I had an opportunity to speak to the GDC rep and he told me that the GDC are also interested in DPASS.

The Blackburn event was such a great success we have decided to hold another event in May at Lancaster Hospital - more info to follow in due course.

I strongly urge you to come along as it is essential in these “litigation conscious” times that we are all fully informed of how the processes work, plus being able to feed into the developing “Shifting the Balance” programme at the GDC.

DPASS is an essential part of supporting practitioners through performance processes so please do make use of it. If you attend the event in May you will be able to find out more about it.

Contacts developed by the LDC Exec: as part of our regular Liaison Meetings with the Area Team we have guest speakers to give us regular updates and give us the opportunity to feedback from the coalface. Examples are

  • Deputy Chief Dental Officer – Eric Rooney

  • CEO Local Pharmaceutical Committee

  • NHSE key personnel

We also are in regular contact with the Local Medical Committee.

All of this helps to keep the Exec informed and to oil the wheels of joint working across the professions. Please feedback any issues or questions to me about anything and I will get you the answer!

Exec contacts in higher places: besides having a great local liaison base we do have representatives at a central level with the BDA. Following the recent elections I am pleased to announce the following Exec Members who have been appointed:

John Edwards has been elected to represent the North West on the BDA Principle Executive Committee (which is the Board of Directors of the BDA)

Representatives on the BDA General Dental Practice Committee are:

John Edwards – Lancashire

Andy Cow – Lancashire

Bruce Porteous – Merseyside

This again gives us a great voice at the centre to bang the drum for Lancs and S Cumbria

How can your LDC Exec help you: I am not sure that everyone knows what the LDC is there for – particularly the younger end of the profession. To put it into a nutshell –


Your LDC is concerned with you the practitioner; be you an associate, practice owner, or salaried employee. Besides representing the profession locally in liaison with the NHS England Area Team we do have representatives at regional and national levels (see above). For ANY individual issues, concerns etc I am available 24/7/365 by email and will do all we can support you the practitioner. To keep up to speed with it all please make sure you visit the website to view all the minutes of meetings etc


Just one more thing: some things are pointless are they not! Recent examples in the Alston household are the bin collection days over Christmas – collections are always disrupted by the Bank Holidays so I googled the Council website to get the information – yes the collection would be delayed by a day – fair enough – what I found amazingly pointless is that if you wanted to you could download an App which would keep you updated - are we serious! This was shortly followed by an email from Morrisons after our weekly delivery inviting Mrs A to be the first to give feedback on a tin of peas – has the world gone mad!

So that’s all for now

From Lancs and South Cumbria LDC Exec please do have a Safe, Happy and Healthy New Year

Please feel free to contact me with anything anytime on or

Onwards and upwards


Bernard Alston

Sec Lancs and S Cumbria LDC Executive