British Dental Association releases its 2019 manifesto
LONDON, UK: The British Dental Association (BDA) has launched its 2019 manifesto, just prior to the upcoming general election. In the document, the trade union calls for politicians from all parties to cease overlooking oral health and to instead recognise it as an integral part of overall health policy.
The manifesto sets out the BDA’s key priorities for the next UK Parliament, which include:
- an NHS dental workforce that is given the support and incentives necessary to encourage long-term commitment;
- the removal of barriers to patient care through a long-term funding solution for NHS dentistry; and
- an emphasis on prevention, and not just treatment, by tackling oral health inequalities.
The UK is set to withdraw from the European Union on 31 January 2020 as part of the ongoing Brexit negotiations, and a significant impact on the nation’s dental workforce is expected. As reported by Dental Tribune UK and Ireland earlier this year, 32% of dental professionals who qualified in the European Economic Area, but currently work in the UK, intend to leave the UK within the next few years. Half of these respondents cited Brexit as the driver of this decision.
“Our message to politicians of all parties is that oral health can no longer be the missing piece in health planning and budgets,” said Dr Mick Armstrong, Chair of the BDA’s Principal Executive Committee.
“We need a joined-up approach to prioritise the nation’s oral health. Tooth decay and gum disease are the most prevalent—but preventable—diseases in Britain. Oral health is key to overall health, and dentistry cannot remain in a silo,” he continued.
“The oral health gap between rich and poor isn’t closing, patients are struggling to secure access, and the service faces a mounting recruitment and retention crisis. This document doesn’t just cover our concerns for the next four weeks of campaigning. It reflects our belief that real progress will require the next government to look at the workforce, funding and public health together,” Armstrong concluded.
The document, titled The Missing Piece: The BDA’s Manifesto for Oral Health 2019, is available to view or download free of charge.