• Bernard Alston

Mini newsletter July 2018

CQC update: as our LDC Exec Guest for the July meeting we had Victoria Finnegan, CQC Inspection Manager North – Dental. We were given an update as to developments at the CQC. A summary is as follows;

  • More dentally qualified staff have been recruited by the CQC.

  • Specialist experienced advisors are now on the panel..

  • A sensible approach is being taken based on making improvements.

  • Work is ongoing with Care Homes with respect to Oral Health and Domiciliary Care.

  • CQC do not give ratings for dental practices as only 10% of dental practices are audited.

  • Negotiation is currently ongoing with NHSE to avoid duplication and encourage a “one place to complain” policy.

  • New Health KLOEs in one handbook. Also included are;

  • Base level and what good looks like.

  • Prompts on questions.

What to expect –

  • New process in place to improve consistency of inspection visits.

  • General inspections will be based on assuming the practice is good to start with.

  • Notable practices will be acknowledged.

  • In reports there are “musts” but negative information will be at bottom of the report to prevent too much negativity in early sections of the report.

  • Overall, good outcomes were experienced following inspections of dental practices.

Exec View: promising presentation and linking with what we had from John Milne last November the CQC seems to be improving in their consistency, experience and approach to the inspection process. As always if you have anything you wish to raise with the CQC just let me know and I will get the answer for you:

Recruitment Campaign: as you will be aware the LASC LDC Executive have commenced the recruitment campaign process. Rather than do this in isolation we have teamed up with the Local Dental Network and NHSE Workforce Team to take a joint approach. This is the ideal situation because we are all on the same page with the aim of developing a workforce to meet the demands of the modern NHS. The workforce group will be multi-disciplinary as workforce issues are not just confined to the Dental Profession.

As part of this process an important element is that the General Public need to be educated to understand that their healthcare may be delivered in a different way than they have been used to. Potential federation of practices and skill mix will be an essential part of solving the problem. The new workforce group will be established shortly and we are particularly keen to put some events on to engage with practices and understand the current problems. What will follow is advice and guidance from experienced people on how to resolve the issues.

In the meantime we have new additions to the Recruitment Section on the website to assist you in your thinking. Importantly I am also seeking views from practitioners of different ages to get feedback on how they would like to see jobs advertised on the website. We have started to collect these responses so keep an eye on the website for updates.

Performance Support: on the website we now have a Performance Support Section which is aimed at making sure we are doing everything as your representative body to support you through any performance concerns or issues.

I have now established links with the Medical Directorate at the Area Team and we are working jointly in an attempt to remove the mystery around Performance Management at NHSE.

Currently within the section on the website we have some explanatory documents such as;

  • PAG explanatory leaflet

  • LDC Support letter

  • DPASS details

These documents start to build the picture and assist you in understanding how these processes work. Please do have a look and if you have any queries I will be more than happy to help you out.

As always for anything just drop me an email on:

Retirement News: news came in recently about the retirement of Tony Burn Specialist Orthodontist and his wife Gill . Tony’s Practice provided comprehensive Orthodontic Services for a long number of years in Blackpool. In my days in practice in Blackpool we did carry out very basic Ortho, but once Tony established his practice we created the first of the Ortho Pathways (no IOTN then!). Life was simple - everything was referred to Tony and he took it from there! Tony was a great character with a good sense of humour and was also a member of the LDC for a number of years. Many thanks to you Tony and Gill from the Profession locally and the best of luck for a happy retirement.

Just one more thing…

Mobile phone signals are a mystery to me. Even when I am on motorways or main roads (hands free of course!) there are a number of areas across the LASC patch where the signal disappears. Contrast this with situations I see on television in locations world wide where people are managing to get a signal in the desert or in the jungle. In fact whilst watching a documentary on elephants in Africa there were chaps in full tribal dress, in the middle of nowhere on mobile phones! Which provider are they with? The other issue is – how do they charge them up.

Onwards and Upwards,


Bernard Alston


Lancashire and South Cumbria LDC executive