Dental Services: Greater London

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered at on 20 November 2023.

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Photo of Feryal Clark Feryal Clark Shadow Minister (Health and Social Care)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps his Department is taking to increase levels of access to NHS dental services in (a) Enfield North constituency, (b) the London Borough of Enfield and (c) London.

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

In July 2022, we announced a package of reforms to improve access to National Health Service dentistry, which outlined the steps we are taking to meet oral health need and increase access to dental care, including London. The changes that have been implemented include improvements to ensure dentists are remunerated more fairly for more complex work and the introduction of a minimum Units of Dental Activity value. NHS dental activity as measured by Courses of Treatments delivered has increased by 23% between 2021/22 and 2022/23.

From 1 April 2023, responsibility for commissioning primary care dentistry to meet the needs of the local population has been delegated to all integrated care boards (ICBs) across England. ICBs are responsible for having local processes in place to identify areas of need and determine the priorities for investment.

The NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, published on 30 June 2023, sets out the steps the National Health Service and its partners need to take to deliver an NHS workforce that meets the changing needs of the population over the next 15 years. These include a 40% increase to dentistry undergraduate training places by 2031/32.

But we know we need to do more, and that there are some areas where access is particularly problematic. We are working on our Dentistry Recovery Plan which will address how we continue to improve access, particularly for new patients; and how we make NHS work more attractive to ensure NHS dentists are incentivised to deliver more NHS care.

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