Yasmin Qureshi MP urges government for action on NHS dentistry

Yasmin Qureshi MP has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, urging him to act on the NHS dentistry access crisis.

The letter has come about after the Healthy Secretary encouraged patients who cannot access NHS dentistry to seek private treatment.

Sixteen MPs from across England have co-signed the letter.

‘Unless the system is appropriately funded and commissioned,’ Ms Qureshi says in her letter.

‘The problems facing patients in constituencies like ours will soon be shared by patients in every corner of England.

‘In order to ensure that everyone has access to decent dental care, it is vital that we recognise and address this impending crisis in NHS dentistry.’

‘Vital message’

The British Dental Association (BDA) has welcomed the letter, urging Mr Hancock to act on the access problems in England.

Recent figures have shown more than a million patients across England failed to get an NHS dental appointment.

‘MPs from across England have sent the Health Secretary a vital message,’ BDA chair of General Dental Practice, Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, said.

‘Now he needs to explain why on his watch dental patients in pain are unable to secure the care they need.

‘The public value choice between NHS and private dentistry.

‘But thanks to underfunding and a failed contract, over a million new patients across England have been left with no choice at all.

‘This government can’t keep pretending that access problems will be solved with warm words.

‘The Health Secretary has a duty to ensure that all who rely on NHS services can access them.’

Dental charges

Steve Brine MP recently said patient charge revenue makes up 28.7% of Government expenditure on NHS dental services.

In an open question to the Treasury, the Secretary for Health and Social Care gave the following NHS dentistry details:

 NHS dentistry  2017/18
 Gross expenditure (millions)2  £2,812
 Patient charge revenue (millions)2  £807
 Net expenditure (millions)  £2,004
 Mid-year population estimate (millions)1  55.6
 Net expenditure per capita  £36.04
 Patient charge revenue as a percentage of expenditure on total NHS dental services  28.7%

‘Dental charges remain an important contribution to the overall costs of dental services,’ a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said when the last increases were announced.

‘This increase will ensure that there is no shortfall in the costs paid by service users and those met by the NHS through the contributions of taxpayers.

‘We constantly strive for good patient access, and access to dental services continues to increase.

‘From January 2015 to December 2017, 22.1 million adults were seen by a dentist.

‘And almost seven million children were seen by a dentist between 2016 to 2017.’

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