The newest speciality (GDC approved in 2008) has been one of the first to be defined within the new care pathways system. You can view the guide here. The speciality is that aspect of dentistry “concerned with the improvement of the oral health of individuals and groups in society who have a physical, sensory, intellectual, mental, medical, emotional or social impairment or disability or, more often, a combination of these factors. The specialty focuses on adolescents and adults only and includes the important period of transition as the adolescent moves into adulthood”.
The care levels are described as:
Level 1 – Special care needs that require a skill set and competence as covered by dental undergraduate training and dental foundation training, or its equivalent;
Level 2 – Level 2 care is defined as procedural and/or patient complexity requiring a clinician with enhanced skills and experience who may or may not be on a specialist register. This care may require additional equipment or environment standards but can usually be provided in primary care. Level 2 complexity maybe delivered as part of the continuing care of a patient or may require onward referral. Providers of Level 2 care on referral will need a formal link to a specialist, to quality assure the outcome of pathway delivery;
Level 3a – Special care needs that require management by a dentist recognised as a specialist in Special Care Dentistry at the GDC-defined criteria;
Level 3b – Special care needs to be managed by a dentist recognised as a specialist in Special Care Dentistry at the GDC defined criteria and holding consultant status.
For many areas the SCD offering lies in the salaried services, and it will be interesting to see how these services respond to the new pathway and how commissioners seek to procure these services in the future.