Access to Calderdale dentists put under the spotlight by health board

Councillors are starting to give access to dentistry in Calderdale its own check-up – but have warned it is likely to be a challenge.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 11:25 am

Coun Mike Barnes (Lab, Skircoat) was presenting a working group’s progress report to Calderdale Council’s Adults, Health and Social Care Scrutiny Board.

The issues of dentistry, and the ability to access a dentist, were close to the heart of board member and Greetland and Stainland ward councillor Marilyn Greenwood, who passed away earlier this year, and councillors have vowed to carry on the work.

Coun Barnes said work was progressing, although not as quickly as working party members would like, and they were addressing it in bite-sized chunks.

Calderdale Council will be looking at dentist services

Early meetings had left more questions than answers and they were waiting on key information.

“Our initial assessment is the system is cumbersome, overly complicated and bursting at the seams,” he said.

COVID had an impact on progress, but they also found the system was very complex and inflexible.

The working group would be looking at flexible commissioning and how Units of Dental Activity (UDA) – the metric measuring work done during treatment – can be better used with more emphasis on dental hygiene.

“The whole purpose of this is to improve outcomes,” said Coun Barnes.

Coun Colin Hutchinson (Lab, Skircoat) asked if there was any assessment available of the dental needs of the population of Calderdale.

He said to the best of his knowledge there was an NHS budget allocation for dentistry that would only meet 50 per cent of the need – it was therefore unsurprising people were running into problems accessing dentistry.

Coun Barnes said the working party would report back on the issue.