Publish date: 30 March 2023

A UCLH and Whittington Health children’s dental service has won the Small Scale, Big Impact award at the Smarter Working Live awards for its work supporting community dentists to provide more dental treatment locally, saving trips to hospital.


The joint service, known as the virtual Paediatric Dentistry Advice Clinic (PDAC), is improving the skills of community dentists in assessing and managing children with more complex dental needs, and helping more children to receive their treatment locally rather than in hospital. It is also increasing access to specialist advice for children with complex dental problems.

The PDAC is a virtual clinic for community dentists working across North Central and North West London. During the clinic, community dentists can discuss their own cases with a consultant dentist to help them decide on the best course of treatment for their patients.

Analysis of the pilot project showed that for the majority of patients discussed by the virtual clinic, the recommendation was for them to receive their treatment in a community dental clinic by their own dentist. Just eight per cent of patients needed to be referred to hospital, with the rest treated or monitored locally, or referred to another service, such as for braces.  

Ms Alexandra Lyne, consultant dentist, said, “The Paediatric Dentistry Advice Clinic is good news for patients, dentists and the NHS as a whole. Not only has the service helped the 200 patients from North Central and North West London that used it last year, but it has also up-skilled local dentists and prevented referrals into hospital. We are now sharing the project regionally and nationally to inspire similar clinics across the country.”

Dr Tim Hodgson, medical director for specialist hospitals board and consultant dentist, added, “Huge congratulations to the Paediatric Dentistry Advice Clinic team at UCLH and the Whittington for winning this award. This is a fantastic example of partnership working across our organisations and in community dentistry. What started as a small project has grown into a shining example of how hospital and community services can work together.”

The photo shows PDAC awards winners from left to right: Ayesha Patel, specialist paediatric dentist, Whittington Health, Alexandra Lyne, consultant dentist, UCLH, Andrew Read, clinical director, Whittington Health. Not pictured: Armaana Ahmad, specialist paediatric dentist, Whittington Health and Labina Rahman, senior dental officer, Whittington Health.