Reform of NHS dentistry ‘will take place before Parliament’s summer recess’, says minister

Reform of NHS dental system will be made before Parliament's summer recess, says ministerOnly ‘modest’ and ‘marginal fixes’ will take place within the current NHS dental system despite promises from the government.

This is the latest verdict of the British Dental Association in response to comments from Minister Maria Caulfield MP in the House of Commons today.

She suggested that reform of the failed NHS dental system will be made this side of Parliament’s summer recess.

According to the BDA, only modest, marginal changes to the current dental contract will be announced before the summer recess. Formal negotiations on meaningful wholesale reform of NHS dentistry is yet to begin.

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Fundamental change

This comes as more than 3,000 dentists have left the NHS in England since lockdown, with many more significantly reducing their NHS commitment.

The number of dentists providing NHS treatment fell from 23,733 at the end of 2020 to 21,544 at the end of January 2022 – the lowest level in a decade.

Shawn Charlwood is chair of the British Dental Association’s General Dental Practice Committee. He said: ‘A dysfunctional contract is fuelling an exodus from NHS dentistry. Real change is not coming this side of the summer.

‘What we’re expecting are modest, marginal fixes to the current failed system. Negotiations on the fundamental change needed have yet to begin.

‘This will be a test of the government’s ambition. Will ministers provide the resources and reform that millions of patients require? Or will they consider a few tweaks to a broken model as mission accomplished?’

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