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Dental Services

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 106701, tabled on 18 January 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, whether his Department has guidelines are in place to ensure dental services do not prioritise private patients over NHS-funded patients.

Answered on

24 January 2022

The National Health Service contracts with dentists to provide an agreed level of dental activity each year, measured in units of dental activity. Where a dentist holds a contract with the NHS, they must deliver the agreed activity or if performance is below 96%, the NHS can recover the unused funds. Dentists therefore have a strong financial incentive to deliver the contracted service and not prioritise private patients in cases where they have undelivered NHS activity.

Throughout the pandemic, NHS England and NHS Improvement have set contractual arrangements which support safe increases in access, whilst maintaining compliance with infection prevention and control measures. The Department is working with the NHS to increase delivery of dental care. NHS dental practices have been asked to meet as many prioritised needs as possible, focussing first on urgent care and care for vulnerable groups, including children followed by overdue appointments.