• Bernard Alston

New Year LDC Newsletter

Hello LASC, So what is Christmas all about? In a nutshell it seems no different to a Sunday except you have turkey for tea and you have it at 4 o’clock rather than 7 o’clock. People give presents to other people that they don’t really need or want - so what is the big deal? For me at least it is an opportunity for a rest because it is the only time of the year when I have hardly any incoming emails! So as I have some time I thought I would put a New Year Newsletter together to bring in 2019. During the year we have had so much happening that we have been putting out interim bulletins around important issues to keep you all up to speed. There has been much going on in 2018 and the Website Team (Stuart Johnson and Zoe Mack) and myself have been kept rather busy getting the info out as it arrives. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Stuart and Zoe very much for all the hard work they have put in over 2018. I hope you have all been able to keep up to date with all the info via the e-group and website. If you have colleagues who are not registered with LASC LDC Exec Website and e-group then please do urge them to get signed up, it is a free resource and easily accessed from a range of devices. STRUGGLING PRACTICES For me the burning issue at present is the recruitment crisis across the patch and this has ended up with a number of practices struggling to meet targets. NHSE locally are aware of the issues and are keen to work with and support struggling practices – therefore if you are in this category please do contact them ASAP. I have put out a number of notices around the problem and the website team have put together the “GREAT OFFERS” advice on the website vacancies section to assist with advertising any job vacancies. We are advertising LASC jobs as widely as we can to get Dental Professionals into the area. This alone, needless to say, has not solved the problem but we have been working with NHSE/HEE around getting some thinking around how we can make the job roles in LASC more attractive to potential candidates and keep our practices fully staffed. Across the patch there have been practices surrendering their contracts to the Area Team because they cannot recruit, and this is a tragic situation. Research across a range of Healthcare Professionals indicates that it is not just the money that is the issue, job roles offering a variety of activity and career development opportunities seems to be what the new graduates are looking for. With this in mind the LASC LDC Exec and HEE are hosting a recruitment event on Friday 8thFeb PM at the Mercure Hotel, Dunkenhalgh which is just yards off the M65 near Blackburn. The afternoon is packed with great speakers with some national names including Eric Rooney, Deputy Chief Dental Officer. The event is workshop based and will be reviewing what attracts potential recruits to our job vacancies and making sure we are offering what the market place is looking for. The course is now live on Maxcourse but please do get booked in ASAP as places are going fast and numbers are limited. Please do not forget there is no quick fix it is more of a journey and to make this work!

To assist further we are developing a “Struggling Practices” section on the LASC LDC Exec website. This new section will include all the feedback and information we can gather over the coming months to assist practices in managing the problem. Needless to say the problem has not been missed by NHSE and what is being worked up to support Medical Practices in this predicament is a Practice Resilience Programme whereby support from the LMC is made available to all Medical Practices that are in the Struggling Practices category. We are looking to replicate this for Dental Practices whereby the LASC LDC Exec will offer support and I have already had conversations around the concept with NHSE locally.



PROFESSIONAL PERFORMANCE SUPPORT On the website is also our section on Professional Performance Support which is there to support any practitioner who finds them in difficulty with professional performance issues. Our DPASS scheme is now established and has achieved some great results for practitioners. Ideally, we want to help practitioners before they encounter problems but we are also there to support practitioners getting back on track following adverse outcomes which may be simply a string of patient complaints, a referral from the Area Team, an adverse CQC visit outcome or an adverse GDC outcome. Don’t forget if you have problems just contact us in confidence and we will support you to get a resolution;


The LASC LDC Exec website is developing at a pace and is definitely the place to go for any information you need to know. We have expanded the Recruitment and Education Hubs this year in response to feedback from practices and individuals. The Information Hub continues to grow reflecting the increasing partnerships we are establishing both within the profession and aligned professions, increasing information and understanding of joint issues. Going forwards to 2019, the Website Team are embarking upon an expansion of professional support advice and services available directly from the LDC website, listed contacts and linked partnerships. The LDC Exec. has the determination and focus to provide the additional help and support practices in our areas need; and the Website Team are equally determined that the site should provide a reassuring, encouraging access point for those who need it. There really is no need to continue to struggle alone, we are here to help and that is a message which is at the forefront of our 2019 work. Information is power.... or so I have heard! The Website Team have been hard at work during 2018 to try and ensure all the information we receive is disseminated in an efficient manner, anything picked up in the "rumour mill" is investigated and reported upon utilising our contacts and resources. We aim to keep you well informed so you do not miss out on what is happening within the profession and in particular within the North of England. e-group mailings have kept the Website Team very busy this year, with many diverse subjects covered such as;

  • Education Bulletins - ensuring you don't miss out on any CPD (especially when free)

  • Recruitment bulletins

  • Signposting and providing links to newly issued guidance

  • NHS 111 launch information

  • Dental access and call handling service updates

  • Procurement Awareness

  • NHS starting well press releases

  • GULP campaign details and links to get involved

  • Change 4 life Campaign and access to the Dental Toolkit

  • Dental practice access information for during the Tour of Britain

  • Hep B vaccination availability and arrangements

  • Advanced notice of Exec. meetings with Capita/Compass enabling your questions to be posed

  • Updated information regarding new referral arrangements

  • Ongoing research - opportunities for involvement and subsequent report

  • Regulation changes - IRR17, GDPR, Amalgam use, etc...

to name but a few! And of course the highlight of the inbox:

  • My Blog (not one you'd want to miss!).

The News page of the website has increased links to outside newsletters and resources. A welcome recent 2018 addition to the News page is Noel Bowen's bite-sized updates from the Routine & Unscheduled Care Network. If you read nothing else on the News Page ensure you read these; they are very well written, to the point, and the most time efficient way to keep your finger on the pulse (many thanks Noel the Website Team have really appreciated your input). Throughout 2019 we will be pushing hard to engage with more of the specialist networks in this way to give you a "dip-in" to what is happening in each field. The Website Team are always on the look out for new information sources, links and partnerships. If you feel we should be including something or addressing an issue then please do get in touch. It's your Website and we want to know how you want it to develop to best serve you! You can get in touch with them direct at;

LASC LDC EXEC Events 2018 In order to ensure we reinforce our support messages over the year we hosted a couple of events back in 2018. PERFORMANCE EVENT 11thMay: this was a great opportunity to hear the GDC, the CQC and the National Strategic Complaints Lead from NHSE. I slotted in with a presentation on the LASC LDC Exec DPASS scheme which is now gathering national momentum. We all learnt much from this opportunity and had a chance to understand how Performance Issues were managed by the regulatory bodies and also how your LDC Exec can assist in getting people through difficult times – if you missed it the presentations are on the website.

Feedback was really positive, and we did have reassurances that all the regulatory bodies are keen to work with the profession and not against us. COMPASS/DENTISTS PENSIONS EVENT 16thOctober: great presentation from both speakers. Feedback was positive and some of the mysteries around Compass were unravelled. The LDC Exec meets annually with Compass now, so please don’t hesitate to drop me an email if you are having problems and I will pass it on. The presentation on Dentists Pensions was very enlightening and certainly cleared up some of the misunderstanding ONE MORE THING: Thoughts on Ebay: it is an odd place Ebay. I went on the other day to order some travel toothbrushes with a critical eye. What did surprise me was that the normal ones we have were listed and it said “New and Unused” – are we serious - who would buy second hand, used toothbrushes. Still I suppose you a should not take anything for granted on Ebay! Speed cameras: Christmas is coming, and the police are getting fat. As we know the pressure is on the boys in blue (trendier in black now though) to raise money for their Christmas party. Increased costs of supervising the Fracking Demonstrators around Kirkham, who don’t do any more than dance around in the road like a load of idiots, have drained the resources so they need to make some money from innocent motorists doing 33 miles an hour in a 30 zone. The “Force” is now operating in a much more camouflaged fashion in their new speed vans that look like the vans that British Gas use. You can easily confuse these vehicles with an innocent gas man mending someone’s boiler and end up with a £100 fine – so watch out! Have a great 2019 and lets see you at some of our up and coming LDC Exec events – we will give you plenty of notice and they will be listed on Maxcourse Onwards and Upwards, Bernard Bernard Alston Secretary LASC LDC Executive