I hope you have all recovered well after a superb conference-it is always a great experience and was absolutely fantastic this year with excellent speakers and great social events. I thought I would use my blog to bring everyone up to date with what is happening from the SACs perspective. We have been focussed on three main areas-national recruitment; further developments with Dentists with enhanced skills (DES); and the GDC curriculum review.
All the Dental Specialties have been asked to develop a strategy for national recruitment, and each was to go in turn, orthodontics was first; followed by restorative dentistry and paediatrics and now it is the turn of oral surgery. A small working group was established to initiate the process and our first meeting was in June when we went along to observe the orthodontic recruitment. We are going to follow a similar format with multiple stations and we have spent the last four months developing these to ensure the process is both fair and robust. The likely timeline will be that all posts advertised before 31st December will be local recruitment but any posts after this time will be included in the new process. The posts will be collated and then the advertisement will go out in March for applications, and the actual interviews will be held in a centre (likely Elland Road Leeds) in May. A national person specification has been produced and applications that do not meet this specification will be longlisted out. Applicants invited for interview will be scored on each of the stations and the scores collated to produce a “ranking”. Applicants will be asked to preference the available jobs and then the jobs will be offered on the basis of the ranking and the preferencing. Having observed the process with orthodontics we are all confident that it is very fair and robust and we are all happy to move forwards with it. Individuals who have been appointed to academic posts will also have to go through the same process to be “benchmarked” before being awarded an academic NTN ie. They will have to achieve an appropriate ranking in an identical manner to non-academic trainees.
The publication of the commissioning guides has resulted in commissioners requesting guidance as to the possible assessment of applicants who wish to provide a tier 2 (IMOS) service. The CDO has established a working group to produce this guidance and requested that the initial focus was on three dental specialties-oral surgery; endodontics and periodontology. The focus of this guidance is to establish a method (hopefully common to the three specialties) of verifying the applicant’s clinical competency to be awarded a contract. This work has been very time consuming but everyone has contributed a great deal to the process. Each lead established a small working group to produce the documentation including colleagues from primary and secondary care; specialists and current tier 2 providers to ensure that the process that was suggested was fair; equitable and actually “do able”! The initial suggestions have been submitted for discussion and the process in on going ie still a “work in progress” but it is definitely starting to take shape and hopefully will be completed by the end of the year. The one thing we have all insisted on is that the assessment must be for the individuals actually carrying out the treatment, not the contract holder-as we all know there have been instances where contracts have been awarded, but the actual treatment is carried out by a separate third party which we do not feel is acceptable. The likely format will be a submitted portfolio of evidence including training; experience; CPD; work place based assessments; patient feedback etc and this will be reviewed by a panel of specialists to ensure appropriate governance is in place. I have no doubt there will be many further discussions on final structure; funding and indemnity but it is progressing to become a robust process with patient safety and governance being paramount.
GDC curriculum review
The GDC is undertaking a review of all the dental specialty curricula which obviously oral surgery is part of. The initial focus was to establish a generic curriculum for all the specialties in the non-clinical aspects of training eg management skills; communication; patient safety; governance etc. This was completed last month and was available for consultation on the GDC website. It is very thorough and comprehensive and accurately reflects the non-clinical skills a specialist should be trained in within a modern NHS. The next stage is for each SAC to develop the clinical part of the curriculum for their specialty and present this to the GDC-this should be completed by the end of 2017. The oral surgery SAC are already starting to do this and we are currently looking at each aspect of the current curriculum in terms of its relevance and application within modern oral surgery practice. We have also reviewed the current trainee’s experiences and will be incorporating this into our review. It is a daunting task and involves a huge amount of work but we are very hopeful that the end result will be to produce excellent high quality training for the oral surgeons of the future.
I would like to wish everyone in advance “all the best for 2017”-there will be a lot happening in our specialty next year!