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MPs to examine struggle to access NHS dentistry services

8 December 2022

The Health and Social Care Committee has launched an inquiry into dentistry following a survey that showed 90% of practices across the UK were not accepting new adult NHS patients.

MPs will consider to what extent the current NHS dental contract disincentivises dentists from taking on new patients. They will look at what incentives can be offered by the NHS to recruit and retain dental professionals, also explore the role of training.

They will also explore the possible impact of changes to be introduced next April to make new Integrate Care Systems and Integrated Care Boards responsible for the provision of dental services.

Terms of Reference

The Committee invites written submissions addressing any, or all, of the following points. Evidence should be submitted by Wednesday 25 January 2023. Written evidence should be no more than 3,000 words. 

  • What steps should the Government and NHS England take to improve access to NHS dental services? 
    • What role should ICSs play in improving dental services in their local area? 
  • How should inequalities in accessing NHS dental services be addressed? 
  • Does the NHS dental contract need further reform? 
  • What incentives should be offered by the NHS to recruit and retain dental professionals, and what is the role of training in this context?

Chair's comments

Health and Social Care Committee Chair Steve Brine MP said: 

“People resorting to DIY dentistry, even taking out their own teeth without anaesthetic or medical care are stories that should belong to another era yet such events are reported to be happening here today.

Perhaps it’s not surprising when research shows that some parts of the country have become dental deserts and 90% of dental practices have turned away adults wanting to sign up for NHS services.

We’re launching an inquiry to ask why dental treatment is so difficult to find and to establish what the government and NHS England must do to improve access and reduce such unnecessary pain and suffering.”

Further information

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