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NHS Dentistry

Volume 709: debated on Tuesday 1 March 2022

There are three ways in which we are increasing dental provision. First, we are increasing dental activity levels to 85%, as infection controls now allow us to. The second way is through the £50 million access fund, which will increase appointments by 350,000, and we encourage local commissioners to apply for that funding. Finally, we are reforming the contract, which, for too long, has resulted in a perverse disincentive for dentists.

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer, but my constituents are telling me that there are no places available with NHS dentists in my constituency. Will the Government now make that a priority following the covid pandemic?

I thank my hon. Friend for all her hard work on campaigning for more dental appointments for her constituents. I believe that she met the Secretary of State last night to push him further on this. Her local area has an allocation of £4.7 million from the £50 million fund, and I encourage her to speak to her local commissioners to make use of that allocation. We are also looking at improving dental training so that we can get more dentists into her area.

Since dentistry was debated just a few weeks ago, another 10,000 of my constituents have received letters to tell them that they will have to go private. They are already waiting for five years to get an appointment. When will they actually get to see a dentist, or are they expected to have poor teeth?

I am not sure where those constituents’ letters have come from, but if a contract has been handed back and that is the reason for the letter, the local commissioners should be looking for new providers, so I am very happy to meet the hon. Lady and her commissioners to see what is going on to make that happen.