To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 20 November 2023 to Question 1067 on Dental Services: Pregnancy, what assessment she has made of the adequacy of the availability of free dental treatment for pregnant women.
To ensure everyone has access to dentistry when needed, there are a range of exemptions to National Health Service dental patient charges for those who need the most financial support. Support is also available through the NHS Low Income Scheme for those patients who are not eligible for exemption or full remission. We have also frozen dental patient charges between December 2020 and April 2023. Free treatment is available to all pregnant women.
Patients do not routinely join NHS dental waiting lists and are only registered with a dental practice for a course of treatment. NHS dental practice profiles at NHS.UK show whether practices across England are currently accepting new patients. This information is available at the following link:
NHS Dental Statistics for England, published by NHS Digital, brings together information on NHS dental activity in England, including information about courses of treatment delivered. 214,257 courses of treatment were delivered to expectant mothers in 2022/23, which is 0.7% of the total of 32.5 million courses of treatment that were delivered in the year. 47.5% of all courses of NHS dental treatment were delivered to non-paying adults and children in the same period.
The NHS in England invests £3 billion on dentistry every year. We are working on our Dentistry Recovery Plan which will address how we continue to improve access for all NHS dental patients across England, including pregnant women.