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In house training hopes to reduce dental waiting lists

L-R: Susan Anderson (dental nurse), George Kokosis (dental core trainee), Emma Black (dental therapist), Rachel Hayhurst (dental nurse), Ellie Boyd (dental nurse), Julie Meadowcroft (dental nurse), Vanessa Smith (dental nurse), Philippa Johnson (dental officer), Lauren Milburn (dental nurse).

Cumbria’s special care and community dental service have been upskilling their staff in order to reduce waiting times for patients.

A number of dentists, dental therapists and dental nurses have now been trained in house to deliver sedation to those patients who need it.

Previously this training had to be undertaken out of county and at some cost, however as Natalie Carman, Clinical director for the Special Care and Community dental service explains the team were able to help themselves:

“We have waiting lists in our dental service and one of the reasons for this is because we have a shortage of staff trained to deliver sedation to those who need it for their dental treatment. To help address this a number of our senior clinical staff applied and were accepted to become approved trainers through the Sedation Training Accreditation Committee of the Royal College of Surgeons. This meant that we could upskill our existing workforce to deliver this service rather than relying on the small number of dentistry staff who were qualified.”

Nine staff have now completed their training and are able to safely deliver sedation. The staff are a mix of dentists, dental therapists and dental nurses.

Natalie added: “This is great news for Cumbria as we will be able to begin to reduce our waiting lists. Currently in some parts of the county patients are waiting over 18 weeks for care with sedation and we are aiming to get it less than this.”

The course emphasised the importance of the safe delivery of sedation and consisted of a series of lectures and practical skill demonstrations, gathering clinical evidence of experience and a final exam.

The dental team will roll out the training on a regular basis to ensure that our staff continue to develop their skills and improve patient care.

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