Editor’s View – what does Liz Truss mean for dentistry?

After little mention of dentistry during her leadership campaign, many are questioning how high up dentistry is Liz Truss' agenda as Prime Minister. 

After little mention of dentistry during her leadership campaign, many are questioning how high up dentistry is on Liz Truss’ agenda as Prime Minister.

At the time of writing, Liz Truss is the new Prime Minister and is currently forming her new cabinet.

Whatever your thoughts on Boris Johnson as the outgoing PM – or Liz Truss – the UK desperately needs somebody to lead parliament.

The in between we’ve been experiencing over the past few months with little to no action has resulted in a huge job list for the new PM and everything now requires urgent action.

During the fight for the top job, we heard Rishi Sunak’s experiences and thoughts on NHS dentistry, but Liz Truss gave little away.

So, what does her appointment mean for the future of dentistry?

Her clear priority when she settles down is to tackle the cost of living crisis, which will include dealing with the energy crisis (there’s a lot of crises going around at the moment).

One of the worries within dentistry is that a lot of the recent boom has come from people choosing elective treatments or switching over to private dentistry due to NHS shortages.

If patients cannot afford this switch, dentistry will start to suffer.

So saving pennies in people’s wallets will certainly have a knock on effect for elective treatments.

Managing energy bills has obvious impacts on running a dental practice.

Liz Truss’ focus will be on household bills, but forgetting the strain rising energy costs is putting on businesses would be a huge mistake.

With many still recovering from the pandemic and loans they took out to survive, huge energy costs may be the final nail in the coffin.

NHS at breaking point

The new PM has given very little away over her plans for the NHS.

One promise she did make was to reverse the rise in National Insurance payments.

With winter just around the corner and a backlog of NHS procedures it seems like healthcare will be another sector to add to the crisis list.

NHS dentistry has just had a minor reshuffle and with so much change elsewhere the likelihood is the new Health Minister Thérèse Coffey will let the dust settle before making any further changes to NHS dentistry.

In an interview with Sky News Ms Coffey said her priorities were ABCD – ambulances, backlogs, care, doctors and dentists.

The fact this would spell ABCDD I’m sure wouldn’t be missed by most in the profession – let’s hope dentistry isn’t dropped from the agenda like it was from the acronym.

The question left is how long will Ms Coffey wait before she introduces a much-needed reformed NHS dental contract.

Or will the minor tweaks keep enough patients at bay for her to focus on other crises?

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