To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of Healthwatch's Dentistry during covid-19 insight briefing; and if he will make a statement.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
17 June 2021
During the pandemic, capacity has been restricted to protect both dental teams and patients, resulting in a reduction in access to National Health Service dentistry, as demonstrated by recent findings from Healthwatch.
NHS dentists throughout the country have been asked to maximise safe throughput to meet as many prioritised needs as possible, focussing first on urgent care and vulnerable groups followed by overdue appointments. This has been underpinned, taking into account current infection prevention and control guidelines, by the requirement for dental providers to deliver 60% of normal activity volumes for the first six months of 2021/22 for full payment of the NHS contractual value.
For the longer term, the Department has asked NHS England and NHS Improvement to work with the BDA, to build on the learning from the dental contract reform programme to bring forward implementable proposals, that address the key challenges facing the delivery of NHS dentistry and improve patient access.