Dental Services: Coronavirus

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 5th June 2020.

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Photo of Christopher Chope Christopher Chope Conservative, Christchurch

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, for what reason it is his policy that routine dentistry is not permitted under covid-19 outbreak restrictions; what assessment he has made of the potential merits of permitting private dentists to resume routine dentistry services provided they do not use high intensity aerosols; what his most recent assessment is of the (a) quality and (b) availability of dentistry services available since the start of the covid-19 outbreak; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Holding answer received on 02 June 2020

National Health Service dentistry was reorganised in late March along with other NHS primary care services to minimise face to face care to contain the spread of COVID-19 during the peak of the pandemic. Dentists were asked to suspend all routine treatment and instead to offer urgent advice and, where required, prescriptions for antibiotics by telephone. Urgent treatment was made available through urgent dental centres (UDCs) set up in each NHS region.

As of 25 May there are currently over 550 UDCs open. Patients are triaged into UDCs by their own dentistry or through NHS 111. The UDCs are expected to provide, where urgently needed, the full range of dental treatment normally available on the NHS.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dentistry outside urgent care centres will begin to restart from 8 June with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety. The letter to dentists setting this out is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-ontent/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/Urgent-dental-care-letter-28-May.pdf

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