General election 2024: is Labour’s dentistry plan already a done deal?

What will a new Labour government mean for dentistry? Practice Plan sales and marketing director Nigel Jones shares his thoughts on the election result.

Having studied Labour’s manifesto and their dentistry rescue plan (DRP) for clues as to how Labour will approach the unenviable task of addressing the state of NHS dentistry, Nigel talks through their five main areas of focus. These are contract reform, access, workforce, prevention and investment in dental services.

On contract reform, Nigel reminds us that Wes Streeting pledged to meet with the BDA during his first week in office as health secretary to discuss this. However, as Nigel says, everything in the DRP is presented as ‘fully costed and fully funded’. This implies Labour may already have a good idea of how they see the future of contract reform. Nigel’s suspicion is that will mean the introduction of a core service of some form.

Is a core service the answer?

The development of a core service feeds into their pledge to improve access to services. In which case, there will need to be an element of creativity to be able to achieve this aim. This may include prioritising under 18s, vulnerable adults, and urgent care. However, as Nigel points out, the access problem cannot be alleviated without improving the number of dentists, hygienists and therapists available to deliver dental services.

He sees this as crucial to the success of any reform of NHS dental services. While suggestions have been made as to how this can be achieved, he fears their effects will not be seen soon enough to solve the current problems.

Nigel also wonders whether, along with supervised tooth cleaning for children, the government needs to tackle the food industry to reduce the amount of sugar in our diet, as Blair did with salt, as part of its prevention strategy. We shall see over the next few weeks and months.


If you’re considering your options away from the NHS and are looking for a plan provider who will hold your hand through the process at a pace that’s right for you, you can start the conversation with Practice Plan on 01691 684165 or book your one-to-one NHS to private call today at practiceplan.co.uk/nhsvirtual.

For more information, visit practiceplan.co.uk/nhs.

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