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NHS Dental care in Halifax

Volume 724: debated on Wednesday 14 December 2022

The petition of Residents of the constituency of Halifax,

Declares that petitioners are concerned about the lack of access to NHS dental care registration and appointments in Halifax; further that residents have been unable to receive both urgent and routine treatments at NHS dentists; and further that there are concerns that residents in Halifax are being advised by NHS England to enquire about appointments further afield which is impractical for many people.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to improve NHS dental care provision in Halifax so that residents can access care easily and locally.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Holly Lynch, Official Report, 1 November 2022; Vol. 721, c. 838 .]

[P002777]

Observations from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (Neil O’Brien):

The Government are aware of the challenges that areas such as Halifax are facing in accessing NHS dentistry. Dentistry is an important part of the NHS and we are committed to improving access and other issues currently faced by patients and the workforce. This is why we announced a package of dental system improvements on 19 July, detailed in our plan for patients. These important first steps to reform NHS dentistry, will improve access for patients and make NHS work more attractive to dentists, particularly in areas where there are access challenges. These changes include improvements to the 2006 contract to ensure dentists are remunerated more fairly for complex treatment, and patient access is improved, especially for those with higher oral health need. As part of this package, we will also enable dental practices to deliver 110% of their contract levels to help recovery from the pandemic and increase activity.

We have taken action to implement these changes, including through regulations that came into effect on 25 November. NHS England (NHSE) will shortly publish additional guidance for dental professionals as part of this package.

In Halifax, additional funding for local initiatives will improve patient access by increasing dental practice capacity. These initiatives will deliver additional care from November 2022 to March 2023 targeted at those patients in greatest need. In addition to this, an additional £50 million in funding was made available for additional activity and patient appointments at the beginning of this year.

We recognise that, despite these changes, there is still more to be done. This is why the Government continue to work with NHS England and the dental sector on further changes which will be announced in 2023. We will continue to work with stakeholders to understand the issues and concerns and this includes considering the most effective reforms for improving access.