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NHS: Dental Services

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 152622, tabled on 10 February 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of NHS activity targets for dentistry on (a) reducing the backlog of urgent care and (b) the financial viability of dental practices.

Answered on

8 April 2021

The Department has no current plans to assess the contractual arrangements for 2021/22. Contractual arrangements for the first six months of the 2021/22 financial year have been introduced by NHS England and NHS Improvement. The revised unit of dental activity threshold set at 60% is based on data that indicates practices may now have capacity to safely achieve more dental activity. Arrangements will be monitored on a monthly basis and are expected to be in place for six months in order to provide increased stability for dental practices. National Health Service commissioners have the discretion to make exceptions, for instance in cases where a dental practice has been impacted by staff being required to self-isolate.

The Department will work with the British Dental Association and NHS England and NHS Improvement who will lead the next stage of dental contract reform. This will involve designing implementable proposals that address the key challenges facing the delivery of NHS dentistry and will encourage a more preventative approach to dentistry.