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British Orthodontic Society- UK ahead of the curve in research into patients’ expectations

 Is it possible to influence a patient’s expectations of their orthodontic treatment?

What is the role of a Managed Clinical Network?

What is the impact of social environment on disease?

How can a £20billion NHS funding gap be addressed?

All these questions and many more were addressed at the Symposium organised by the Consultant Orthodontists Group of the British Orthodontic Society where delegates enjoyed a two day programme that went beyond the dental and into the realms of health and social care policy.

The meeting was opened by Professor Susan Cunningham who was the first woman to be invited to deliver the Ballard Lecture, a lecture which takes place annually at the Consultant Orthodontists Group symposium. Entitled High Quality Care for all: Does patient-centred research help? her talk examined how understanding expectations is critical to securing good outcomes.

The UK had really embraced the issue of patient expectations, she said and was ahead of the curve, which was something to be proud of. Professor Cunningham brought her audience up to date on many relevant studies in the field of patient-centred research.

She emphasised the significant progress which has been made in the last 20 years and also highlighted the importance of continuing research into management of patient expectations, assessment of treatment outcomes, enhancing the overall treatment experience for patients and optimising patient satisfaction.

Professor Cunningham discussed the management of patients with conditions, such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder, who were high risk for treatment and her talk dovetailed neatly with Professor Tim Newton’s. A Professor of Psychology as applied to Dentistry, his presentation was called “Not quite what I expected…” He provided advice on the screening of patients and how to manage those whose interests are not best served by having orthognathic treatment.

The line-up of other speakers included:

  • The epidemiologist Professor Sir Michael Marmot, President of the World Medical Association and Author of The Health Gap, the Challenge of an Unequal World. In his presentation, Sir Michael set out his research which demonstrates the impact of social environment on disease and highlighted what could be done to address poverty and reduce inequalities. Having conducted the Strategic Review of Health Inequalities in England in 2010, he has a clear insight into how children from poor families are being failed, observing: “We are failing children across the gradient, it’s not just the poor who are doing badly.”

There was hope, he said, because in more deprived areas of the UK such as Hackney, where steps are being taken to address inequalities, children now have improved education leading to opportunities for improved income, greater social mobility and better health.

  • The self-styled NHS guru, Roy Lilley, was also an advocate of change in his own inimitableway. He used his experience of working in the building-trade to illuminate the radical thinking that could be considered to restructure the NHS. “I don’t think the NHS is irrecoverable,” he said, going on to suggest that the Treasury should no longer be responsible for funding the NHS and that the declining level of the NHS should be restored to European levels. Using art as a metaphor, he said the original concept of the NHS was a masterpiece, but had been subverted to look more like a work of Cubist iconoclasm.
  • Janet Clarke, deputy Chief Dental Officer gave two presentations in one. Firstly, an insight into the structure of NHS dental commissioning and the inter-relationships of Managed Clinical Networks and Local Dental Networks and then her own role as Chair of her own Local Dental Network in the West Midlands. One of the questions Janet was asked was how secure the funding of teaching hospitals is. She said she saw no sign that commissioners wanted to destablise teaching hospitals. There was recognition that they would be teaching the clinicians of the future who would qualify and work in that area.
  • Other presentations included: Kathy Harley on the restorative management of children with hypodontia, Toby Gillgrass, who discussed cleft services, Nicky Mandall on bone-anchored maxillary protraction and whether it reduced the need for orthognathic surgery and two joint presentations, the first by Tony Ireland and Padhraig Fleming on dental priorities and the second by Trevor Hodge and Simon Littlewood on what has been learned since the establishment of the first training programmes for orthodontic therapists in 2007.

The meeting took place at the Royal College of Surgeons of England in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London.

British Orthodontic Society

Posted by Gemma

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