The Chief Dental Officer for England has been named as the inaugural chair of the University of Suffolk Dental Community Interest Company.
Sara Hurley visited the University last week and met with Professor Helen Langton, Vice-Chancellor and Dr Paul Driscoll-Evans, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health and Wellbeing).
In July 2022, the University of Suffolk announced a new strategic plan, developed in partnership with the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board; this was hailed as a “game changer” in service provision across the county.
The project has been a year and a half in development looking at providing dental services as well as education and skills, and the plan’s initial starting point has three key components:
- The development of a dental social enterprise offering NHS dental treatment;
- The formation of a Centre for Dental Development;
- The development of clinical simulation and treatment facilities to support the education and training of undergraduate students in dental therapy and hygiene and post graduate dentists as they progress their careers
It also received the backing of Suffolk’s MPs, in particular Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds who has supported the project from the start after receiving numerous complaints from constituents about the lack of local NHS dental provision.
Professor Helen Langton, Vice-Chancellor and CEO of the University of Suffolk said: “I am delighted that Sara has agreed to be the inaugural Chair of the Dental Community Interest Company and to join the board of the University of Suffolk.
“This is a brilliant endorsement of the work that the University of Suffolk are doing to contribute to solutions to the challenges of providing good oral health for our population.
“Sara brings a wealth of dental expertise that we will benefit from hugely and we look forward to working with her.”
Dr Ed Garratt, chief officer, NHS Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board, said:
“It’s incredibly positive that the University of Suffolk Dental Community Interest Company has appointed the current Chief Dental Officer for England as its chair.
“Sara is an outstanding leader, and she brings huge knowledge and experience to the role.
“I am in no doubt that she will help us to improve dental services locally.
“From April 2023 the ICB will take on the commissioning responsibility for local NHS dental services.
“We are determined to do all we can to introduce positive change by working closely with our partners, patients and the dental workforce.”
Commenting on her appointment, Sara Hurley said: “I am delighted to be taking on the role of Chair for Suffolk Dental Care Community Interest Company, with the team at the University of Suffolk and alongside the Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board.
“With the implicit integration of oral health into our local health and social care system, as a new provider of NHS dental care in the region we are well placed to offer ordinary dentistry delivered with extraordinary care.
“Our ethos is all about enabling dental care, improving oral health by increasing access to dental services and at the same time providing opportunities for starting or continuing a dental career in the East of England.”
Photo shows, from left to right, Sara Hurley, Chief Dental Officer for England, Professor Helen Langton, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Suffolk and Dr Paul Driscoll-Evans, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Health and Wellbeing).
University of Suffolk Press Office