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Dental Recovery Plan

Volume 733: debated on Tuesday 6 June 2023

Our dental plan will be out shortly. We are already taking steps to reform the contract. We have created more bands for units of dental activity, to better reflect the fair cost of work and to incentivise NHS work. We have introduced a minimum UDA value to sustain practice where it is low, allowing dentists to deliver 110% of their UDAs. As a result, the amount of dental activity being delivered is up by about a fifth on a year ago, but we know that we must go further.

I welcome the Minister’s response and his comments in a recent Westminster Hall debate. It is clear that there is still a problem, and many of us are still asking for the recovery plan to come forward. I am afraid that “soon” is not good enough. Nearly every single one of the NHS dentists in my constituency is either not taking on new patients or leaving the area. “Soon” needs a date. Can we have this plan either immediately or sooner?

I was seized by the thoughtful comments that my hon. Friend made in that Westminster Hall debate. We are working on all those ideas, and the plan will be out very shortly.

I thank the Minister for his response. Would he consider encouraging more students to go into dental work by writing off student loans for those who go into NHS dental work for a five-year period—in other words, we get something back if we invest in them?

At every stage, we are taking action to get more dentists doing NHS work. There are 6.5% more dentists doing NHS work than in 2010. The hon. Gentleman has an important idea. We are doing other things to retain NHS dentists, such as the important reforms that we made to pensions, which have helped both GPs and NHS dentists.