I am pleased to hear that patients across the country will benefit from improved access to dental care under changes announced by NHS England.
Many will know of my continued campaign for improved access to NHS dental services in Worthing, Arun and across England. I welcome this positive step forward.
New reforms to the dental contract - the first in 16 years - mean NHS dentists will be paid more for treating more complex cases, such as people who need three fillings or more.
Dental therapists will also be able to accept patients for NHS treatments, providing fillings, sealants, and preventative care for adults and children, which will free up dentists’ time for urgent and complex cases.
In February I made clear the concerns and requests of dentists from across Worthing and Arun and made the request that the Government bring everyone together with the necessary urgent approach so that, in six months time, we can see significant improvements. I am pleased that, six months later almost to the day, these improvements have been announced.
These reforms will be welcomed by all. The next step must be to address the growing exodus of dentists from the service and widening inequalities in patient access.
I urge the Government to continue on this positive trajectory so that we may see a full resolution in the years to come.
Chief Dental Officer for England Sara Hurley said:
“The NHS is determined to overhaul dental provision, with a focus on increasing access to necessary dental care and supporting prevention, today’s reforms are the first step on that journey.
“NHS dental staff are working hard to recover services, but the key to delivering this will be reform – these changes announced today will help teams carry out even more treatments and help address the inevitable backlogs that have built up during the pandemic.
“Anyone with concerns about their dental health should contact their local dentist as they usually would or seek advice from NHS 111.”
“Infection prevention and control measures to protect staff and patients were introduced during the pandemic, limiting the number of procedures that NHS dentists could carry out.”