Scottish dental standards set for revamp
 

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Scottish dental standards set for revamp

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Scottish dental standards set for revamp

 

Scottish dental standards set for revamp

A new set of guidelines has been published by ministers to ensure dental patients receive a better standard of care throughout Scotland.

The move is designed to end a postcode lottery in the quality of dental services in the country.

The National Standards for Dental Services, developed by the Scottish Executive and NHS Quality Improvement Scotland, lays out the minimum patients can expect from their dentist, and how to complain if the service is not up to scratch.

The guidelines set out 15 standards that both NHS and private dentists will be judged against, and cover subjects such as infection control, information for patients, cleanliness expectations and treatment costs.

Lewis MacDonald, the Deputy Health Minister, said people were ‘entitled to the same quality of care and treatment, regardless of where the service is provided, or by whom.’ He added: ‘The standards explain what patients can expect and how to raise any concerns. The standards also mean that dentists will be aware of what is expected of them when they provide a dental service. They will ensure that patients are able to make informed choices about the service they use and the treatments they receive.’

Susan Brimelow, director of Healthcare Regulation, said: ‘There is very strong evidence that national standards are a tremendous tool to help raise the quality of services. Scotland already has national care standards which it can be very proud of and this is another excellent development.’

The Care Commission, which registers and regulates dental services and will carrying out surgery spot-checks, said Scotland is the first part of the UK to have such clear regulation of dental services.

The standards will also oblige surgeries to tighten up their hiring protocols, with staff required to undergo full criminal background disclosure checks. The guidelines do not cover the availability of NHS dentists, however, the scarcity of which being a common complaint among patients, especially in Scotland’s rural areas. A third of Scottish children are not registered with an NHS dentist, despite a £45 million drive to improve services and access.

Dr Colin Crawford, chair of the British Dental Association’s Scottish Dental Practice Committee, responded by saying: ‘The BDA supports the development of the Scottish standards, however it must be recognised that their implementation will require a substantial amount of time away from providing clinical care. If patients are to benefit, adequate funding and resources must be provided to dentists to implement these standards. It should also be noted that the new standards don’t address the crucial issue of the shortage of dentists in Scotland.’

 Posted on : Thu 21st - Dec - 2006

 

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