DENTISTRY in Barnsley will no longer be commissioned by NHS England in a bid to improve the industry which is ‘hanging by a thread’.

The NHS South Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) became responsible for the commissioning of community pharmacy, community optometry and NHS dental care services across Barnsley on Saturday.

These services have previously been commissioned and managed by NHS England.

However, this change will allow NHS South Yorkshire to consider how those services can best serve our local communities and how the Integrated Care Strategy, recently launched by the Integrated Care Partnership, can support this.
( It comes after Stephanie Peacock, MP for Barnsley East, said dentistry services in the town are ‘hanging by a thread’.

More Barnsley youngsters had a tooth extracted at hospital last year than almost anywhere else in the country.

The statistics from the government’s Office for Health Improvement and Disparities, shows around 420 children aged 19 or younger in Barnsley had at least one tooth removed due to decay in the 12 months to March 2022 - up from around 240 the year before but down from 495 in 2019/20, before the pandemic.

It meant around 770 in every 100,000 children underwent a tooth extraction for decay last year - among the most in the country.

A total of 485 extractions were undertaken in the area, meaning decay accounted for 87 per cent of all procedures.

It is hoped that this change will allow the services to run better, with the ICB able to work locally within Barnsley to see what is most needed.

Staff at NHS England who are currently responsible for commissioning and managing these services will continue to do so as part of the delegation agreement.

It is anticipated that these staff will transfer to NHS South Yorkshire later this year.( NHS South Yorkshire and NHS England are currently working together to support the transition, including sharing information and data and setting up governance procedures.

Dr David Crichton, Chief Medical Officer, said: “We’re looking forward to working closely with local pharmacies, optometrists and general dental practices and continuing to develop services that meet the needs of our communities.( “By commissioning these services more locally we can work to improve the health of our population and reduce health inequalities that exist in South Yorkshire.”

Anthony Fitzgerald, lead for Primary Care, added that the new development is ‘exciting’.

He added: “Our teams have been working hard on supporting the transition of responsibility for the commissioning of community pharmacy, community optometry and NHS dental care services for some time.( “This is an exciting development, and although it is anticipated there will not be significant changes immediately, we will be working to improve these services for our communities in the long-term in support of our integrated care strategy.”