Chief Dental Officer Foreword
The landscape in NHS dentistry and oral health has improved significantly.
Our Childsmile programme has made excellent progress in improving the oral health of young children. The latest National Dental Inspection Programme (2016) showed that 69 per cent of primary 1 children in Scotland had 'no obvious decay experience', compared with 54 per cent in 2006. We have also seen similar progress amongst primary 7 children.
services is at its highest ever level,
and there has been a 30 per cent increase in dentists providing NHS dental services since 2007.
However, it is important we recognise that significant challenges still remain. There are complex challenges around addressing oral health inequalities; meeting the needs of an ageing population; and moving from restorative dentistry to a more preventive-focused approach.
The consultation, 'Scotland's Oral Health Plan', was the first step in addressing these challenges. It was an opportunity for engagement and enabled us to listen to the views of the public, the dental team, and other health professionals, as well as the wider NHS, on how we should take NHS dental services forward to meet these challenges.
To reach as many people as possible we published an online consultation; held a series of roadshow events for dental professionals; and a series of public focus groups. We received, 427 responses to the consultation; 564 attendees across a series of roadshow events; and 113 members of the public participating in focus group events.
This document summarises the analysis of responses from the consultation and the roadshow events. The findings of the patient focus groups, conducted by the Scottish Health Council on behalf of the Scottish Government, has been published as a separate document.
The next step in addressing these challenges will be to produce an Oral Health Improvement Plan which will provide NHS dentistry with a new overarching approach. Prevention must be at the forefront of these plans, recognising that stakeholders - individuals, carers, parents, teachers at all levels, health and social care staff and the dental team - all need to contribute to good oral health outcomes. The Oral Health Improvement Plan will be about addressing new challenges so that patients and service providers have confidence there is strategic leadership and direction from the Scottish Government for the future of NHS dental provision. The intention is to publish the Oral Health Improvement Plan by the end of the year.
Chief Dental Officer