Government U-turns on plan to cut mental health services for hospital dentists

Government u-turn on NHS Practitioner Health coverage for hospital dentists and doctors

The government has U-turned on its decision to cut NHS Practitioner Health coverage for hospital dentists and doctors.

However, the British Dental Association (BDA) said that answers are needed on how news of the cancellation was delivered to the profession at the last minute.

According to the BDA, NHS Practitioner Health is the largest publicly funded mental health staff treatment service worldwide. It costs £11m a year to run – around 0.007% of NHS England’s budget.

On Friday 12 April the mental health and addiction support service announced that funding had been cut, with no new registrations for secondary care staff from Monday 15 April onwards.

Following outrage across healthcare professions, services are now to be extended for 12 months while a review is undertaken into the need of NHS staff groups. 

Seeking assurances

BDA chair Eddie Crouch said: ‘Late on Friday, and with zero working days notice, NHS England announced the end of a programme that has saved lives. 

‘The outrage from this profession has been palpable. We’ve got a stay of execution, but how on earth did we get here? Tiny savings would have come at a very human cost.

‘Pre-COVID we fought for and won extension of support to primary care dentists. NHS England have since claimed that this coverage was never at risk.

‘We are seeking cast iron assurances this support has a future, in both primary and secondary care. 

‘We are clear that mental health matters. Any health service requires healthcare professionals who are ready, willing and able to do their jobs.’

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