Will the government continue its inquiry into NHS dental services?

Will the NHS dentistry inquiry continue?Michael Watson questions whether the inquiry into NHS dentistry services will continue.

Last summer, the then House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee instituted an inquiry into NHS dentistry services.

However, with the dissolution of Parliament it and all other select committees dissolved and all inquiries ended.

The Health and Social Care Committee membership for the 2019 Parliament has been now been agreed and they will have to decide whether or not to restart the inquiry into NHS dentistry.

NHS dentistry inquiry

Jeremy Hunt Conservative MP for South West Surrey (since 2005), somewhat controversially, chairs the Committee.

He is a former Secretary of State for Health and thus could be said to be ‘marking his own homework’.

Other members are:

  • Paul Bristow – Conservative MP for Peterborough since 2019
  • Amy Callaghan – Scottish National Party MP for East Dunbartonshire since 2019
  • Rosie Cooper – Labour MP for West Lancashire since 2005
  • Dr James Davies – Conservative MP for Vale of Clwyd since 2019 and between 2015-2017. He practised as a GP and has an interest in dementia
  • Dr Luke Evans – Conservative MP for Bosworth since 2019. He is a GP
  • James Murray – Labour (Co-op) MP for Ealing north since 2019
  • Taiwo Owatemi – Labour MP for Coventry north west since 2019
  • Sarah Owen – Labour MP for Luton north since 2019
  • Dean Russell – Conservative MP for Watford since 2019
  • Laura Trott – Conservative MP for Sevenoaks since 2019.

The Committee consists of a chairman and 10 members (five Conservative, four Labour and one Scottish National), although committees seek to come to a consensus decision.

Only Jeremy Hunt, Rosie Cooper and Dr James Davies have been MPs previously. The remaining eight having been elected for the first time in last December’s general election.

They may not feel bound by the decision of their predecessors to hold an inquiry into NHS dentistry or, if they do, have the same terms of reference.

Department of Health and Social Care Ministers

Following the Prime Minister’s recent reshuffle, the Rt Hon Matt Hancock remains Secretary of State. Junior minister Jo Churchill MP retains the ‘dentistry’ portfolio.

Baroness Blackwood stood down as health minister in the House of Lords and has not yet been replaced. A government whip will undertake her duties in that House.

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