Wes Streeting has said Labour would reform dentistry’s NHS contract within days if the party was elected.
The shadow secretary of state for health and social care spoke out following the release of the government’s NHS dental recovery plan.
Discussing recent reports of queues to access NHS dentistry, he told BBC Breakfast this morning: ‘It’s just gone quarter past seven. There is already a queue of people. Those people have been told that the practice isn’t enrolling new patients today, but people are still queuing already on a very cold morning because they’re desperate.
‘What the government’s announced today, much of which has been lifted from what Labour has announced as an emergency dental rescue package, will go some way to plugging the immediate shortfall.
‘But what it doesn’t do, and what the dentists are crying out for, is reform of the dentist contract so we can recruit and retain the NHS dentists we need.
‘I will grip the issue of reform of the contract in week one of a Labour government, getting the dentists in straight away to agree the process for contract renegotiation.’
'People are queuing because they are desperate'
As the Government announce a plan for dentists in England, Labour's Wes Streeting spoke to #BBCBreakfast from a dental practice in Bristol where people have been queuing for the last three days to registerhttps://t.co/nQjndu2IS8 pic.twitter.com/oqZ8U8qFgk
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) February 7, 2024
Bonus for dentists
The recovery plan report for NHS dentistry was released today (7 February). NHS England detailed new measures to tackle the current NHS dental crisis including:
- NHS dentists will be given a ‘new patient’ payment of between £15 to £50 (depending on treatment need) to treat around a million new patients who have not seen an NHS dentist in two years or more
- Around 240 dentists will be offered one-off payments of up to £20,000 for working in under-served areas for up to three years
- A new ‘Smile for Life’ initiative, offering advice to parents and parents-to-be offered on the right care for baby gums and milk teeth
- The minimum value of NHS activity increasing to £28 (from £23)
- ‘Dental vans’ sent to rural areas to help reach the most isolated communities
- A water fluoridation programme to be rolled out by government (subject to consultation).
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