Dental Services: Standards

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 16 May 2023.

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Photo of Lee Anderson Lee Anderson Deputy Chair, Conservative Party

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent steps his Department has taken to tackle the shortage of NHS dentist appointments.

Photo of Neil O'Brien Neil O'Brien The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

In July 2022, we announced a package of improvements to the National Health Service dental system, detailed in ‘Our plan for patients’, which outlined the steps we are taking to meet oral health need and increase access to dental care. The changes we have implemented include a contractual requirement for NHS dentists to keep their NHS.UK profiles up to date to make it easier for patients to seek treatment, improvements to ensure dentists are renumerated fairly for more complex work and greater flexibility to reallocate resources and to utilise dentists with greater capacity to deliver NHS treatment, while enabling full use of the dental team.

These changes came into effect towards the end of 2022. NHS England have published additional guidance for dentists and commissioners as part of this package. Patients who are struggling to find a local dentist can contact NHS England’s Customer Contact Centre for assistance or contact NHS 111 if seeking urgent care.

NHS England, regional teams and integrated care boards across England are also working together to ensure that patients continue to have access to NHS dental care. We know that we need to do more, and we are working with NHS England and stakeholders to consider additional reforms of the NHS dental system coming shortly this year.

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