Access to NHS Dentists

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:03 pm on 12th September 2017.

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Photo of Steve Brine Steve Brine The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health 11:03 pm, 12th September 2017

I will not because we are almost out of time.

The initiative was for patients requiring routine or urgent treatment who approached 111 to access a dentist. Patients were triaged by Local Care Direct according to need. Twenty-five practices participated in the pilot: nine in Bradford City, eight in Bradford Districts and eight in North Kirklees. In March 2017, an additional practice in Dewsbury was recruited into the pilot; Paula Sherriff is in the Chamber.

The pilot began in January 2017 and was due to end in March, but it was extended to the end of June 2017. Over the duration of the pilot, almost 7,800 appointments were made available for new patients. NHS England across Yorkshire and the Humber is currently reviewing the learning from the pilot and considering how it can improve access to NHS dentists in a number of areas across the region. I know that it would welcome representations from the Opposition Members who are present if they wish to feed into that process.

In closing, I would like to reiterate the commitment we made in our manifesto

“to support NHS dentistry to improve coverage and reform contracts so that we pay for better outcomes, particularly for deprived children.”

I hope that by setting out, in the very limited time we have for this Adjournment debate, the work being undertaken by the Department of Health, NHS England and Public Health England, I have been able to assure the hon. Lady and the House of the commitment we have and that I have personally. I hope there is no question that this is a huge priority for me. I want to improve access to NHS dentistry and I want to improve the oral health of our children, especially in England, and of the population for the future. That is in all of our interests.

I thank the hon. Lady for bringing this debate to the House. I am certain that this conversation will continue.

Question put and agreed to.

House adjourned.