Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Cabinet Decision: 2nd November 2006
Title of Item/Report
Review of NHS Dentistry Provision in Stockton Borough
Record of the Decision
Cabinet considered the report and recommendations of a review of NHS dentistry provision in Stockton Borough. The report was presented to Cabinet by the Chairman of the Health Select Committee.

The review was instigated owing to concerns that, without, NHS dentists, patients would have to opt for private provision, travel outside of the Borough for NHS treatment or choose not to have treatment which might result in a reduction of preventative care. In January 2006, North Tees PCT had confirmed that there were no dentists offering NHS treatment for new adult patients in the Stockton area. The Committee took evidence from a wide variety of witnesses including the PCT, dentists and patient and public representatives.

The Committee hoped at the beginning of this review to have been able to help find a resolution to the problem that residents had in accessing an NHS dentist locally. Unfortunately this had not been possible and the problem remained in place even though all interested parties were working hard to find alternative solutions.

A major concern was that the new contract arrangements impacted on the level of preventative care that was available. As a result consideration was given to the issue of fluoridation of Stockton's water supply. Evidence provided pointed towards its oral health benefits but this would need to be considered in light of residents' views.

The Committee recognised that needs for elderly people were as important in the planning of dental services as that available for younger residents.

Recognising the effort that officers in the PCT were giving, the Committee hoped that it and Council officers could give support in helping disseminate information and publicity for the PCT as it continues to overcome the issues highlighted in this review.

Cabinet discussed the report and supported the recommendations.

The Leader, on behalf of Cabinet, thanked the Chairman and Members of the Select Committee for the excellent work they had produced.

It was suggested that the Select Committee's report be presented to the Children's Trust Board


1. It be recommended to the North Tees Primary Care Trust that: -

a) when targeting areas and patient groups for the use of its mobile dental facility, particular consideration be given to providing access in areas of high density of elderly people, especially where NHS provision had been removed or locations of nursing care homes.

b) When appropriate, participate in initiatives that introduce or increase children's access to fluoride.

2. It be recommended to the North East Strategic Health Authority that it undertake consultation in Stockton Borough to determine the level of local support for the introduction of fluoridation to the borough's water supply.

3. before the academic year 2007-08 Stockton-on-Tees Children's Trust, with North Tees PCT maximise the uptake of school dental screening and dental surveys by incorporating dental consent within the health consent forms used at the beginning of children's' school careers.

4. assistance be given to North Tees PCT to publicise issues about NHS dentistry through Council publications, in particular Stockton News, which was delivered to every house in the borough.

5. Council officers with links to the many and various community and voluntary groups provide the Head of Primary Care, North Tees PCT with contact information to target those groups in order to publicise dentistry issues.

6. the Community Lynx ‘demand responsive' bus service advertises access to dental practices as part of its health care remit.

7. the Integrated Transport Environmental Policy Unit provide the Committee with an accessibility map to identify available bus transport to dental practices in the borough.

8. the report be presented to the Children's Trust Board.

Reasons for the Decision
This topic was identified as an area meriting a scrutiny review at a meeting of the Scrutiny Liaison Forum held on 8 March 2006. The issue was subsequently referred to the Health Select Committee for approval, and passed to a meeting of the Executive Scrutiny Committee as part of the work programming procedure.

The objectives/aims developed by the Committee for the review were as follows: -

To explore if alternative ways can be found to provide affordable dentistry in the Borough
To examine the changes to NHS dentistry introduced from 1 April 2006 and explore dental provision elsewhere

The review addresses the following strategic corporate objectives:

Improve the public health of the Borough

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
Details of any Dispensations
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
By no later than Midnight Friday 10th November 2006

Date of Publication: 08 November 2006

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