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Contractors must offer oral health advice as part of NHS England campaign

By Costanza Pearce

01 May 2019

Contractors will be required to take part in NHS England’s month-long community pharmacy oral health campaign, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) announced on Monday (29 April).

The campaign, which will run from 13 May to 13 June, targets the parents or carers of children under the age of five.

Pharmacies are required to participate in up to six public health campaigns every year that are agreed between PSNC and NHS England as part of the community pharmacy contractual framework.

Patient-facing staff should ‘familiarise themselves’ with Public Health England’s (PHE) guide to children’s oral health ‘so they are ready to communicate this advice to appropriate patients’, according to a letter sent by NHS England to its local pharmacy teams last week (23 April).

PHE’s guidance includes advising parents to start brushing once their child’s first tooth comes through, brushing before bedtime and to not let their child rinse their mouth with water after brushing.

The letter recommends identifying such patients when they attend the pharmacy with a child, collect a prescription for one or purchase items such as dummies, teething products and baby milk or food.

According to PSNC, the advice is similar to the children’s oral health training module many pharmacy teams completed as part of the last Quality Payments Scheme.

Contractors should also signpost patients who have been unable to make a dental appointment for their child to NHS practices with availability, any local dental access helplines or the NHS website, according to the letter.

The letter says: ‘The office of the chief dental officer for England has worked with Local Dental Networks (LDNs) to share information with Pharmacy Local Professional Networks (LPNs) on dental practices welcoming new child patients.

‘Where available, this information should be shared with patients who have had difficulty in making an appointment for their child.’

Community pharmacies will receive an A3 poster and a range of supporting materials for public display this week (29 April to 5 May), including leaflets and toothbrushing charts.

This follows the news that a scheme offering ‘five-minute oral health interventions’ will be rolled out across pharmacies in the north-east of England following a successful pilot.

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