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Common’s health report shares verdict on NHS dentistry

The Health and Social Care Committee has pointed out that an urgent and fundamental reform of NHS dentistry is needed. (Image: Marbury/Shutterstock)
Dental Tribune UK & Ireland

Dental Tribune UK & Ireland

Tue. 25 July 2023


LONDON, UK: A new report from the Health and Social Care Committee deems NHS dentistry “totally unacceptable in the 21st century”. The cross-party report has addressed calls for urgent and fundamental reform.

The July report cites evidence from UK dentists on the exodus from the NHS, sharing recommendations on how to stem the flow. It presses for a break from the 2006 contract and outlines suggested next steps.

The committee has called for a permanent ring-fencing of the dental budget and for adequate resources to underpin the forthcoming recovery plan. “From reform to funding the committee has provided an instruction manual to save NHS dentistry,” said General Dental Practice Committee Chair Shawn Charlwood. “The real question now is whether government or opposition are ready to use it. Failure to act will condemn this service to oblivion.”

The report states that any approach the government might take to tie-ins is conditional on first delivering fundamental reform to the current system. It also highlights the issues with workforce planning given the effective absence of accurate data. The committee recommends a dental workforce survey to find out how many full- and part-time equivalents are working in NHS dentistry, so they can actually pinpoint where the dental deserts actually are.

The British Dental Association responded that they have long argued for an end to the current system, advocating for a renewed focus on prevention, and person-centred care. MPs have backed our call for a system based on weighted capitation, which will also give support to the patients who need us most.

The government has pledged to fast track a recovery plan and to ensure meaningful reform of the NHS dental contract. Over 1,300 dentists have already urged Health Secretary Steve Barclay to act. 


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