To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the Healthwatch England report What people have told us about NHS dentistry, published on 20 December; what assessment they have made of the particular finding that only two per cent of NHS dental practices in Gloucestershire are accepting new adult patients, while those in (1) Dorset, (2) Devon, (3) Cornwall, and (4) the Isles of Scilly, are accepting none at all; and what steps they are taking to encourage more dentists to accept NHS patients.
1 March 2022
The Department has considered the report, which reflects that National Health Service dentistry continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. NHS England and NHS Improvement have set increasing thresholds for activity in NHS contracts, supporting increases in access whilst maintaining compliance with infection prevention and control measures.
We have provided an additional £50 million for NHS dental services in 2021/22 to ensure access for more people, including children and vulnerable patients. Local commissioning teams have also been reminded of the importance of updated information on additional practice sessions for NHS 111 to direct patients as required.
Since September 2021, there are an additional 24 urgent dental care appointments each week in Gloucestershire. In the South West, NHS England are working with Bristol and Peninsula Dental schools as part of the South West Dental Reform programme to address the challenges facing NHS dentistry in the region. The programme is looking at innovative ways to attract dental staff and increase access.