More than 60 MPs call on Liz Truss to honour pledge to reform NHS dentistry

After over 60 cross-party MPs call on Liz Truss to act with ‘urgency and ambition’ on the NHS dentistry crisis, the BDA has warned that the government must show ambition.

More than 60 MPs across parliament have called on the new Prime Minister to honour her pledge to reform NHS dentistry.

This comes after the absence of new commitments in Thérèse Coffey’s, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, ‘Plan for Patients.

This new plan, published on Thursday 22 September, outlines ‘a range of measures to help the NHS and social care perform at their best for patients’.

But with no new commitments to NHS dentistry, the BDA has warned that the government must show real ambition to restore NHS dentistry.

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Access crisis

Earlier this month, the new Health Secretary promised to focus ‘relentlessly’ on ABCD: ambulances, backlogs, care, doctors and dentists.

As well as this, Liz Truss stated that the NHS dentistry access crisis would be a ‘top three’ priority in her first 90 days in office.

However, the Plan for Patients fails to mention any new proposals to resolve the lack of access to patients or the exodus of dentists from the NHS.

The BDA believes the access crisis is being fulled by the discredited NHS contract dentists in England.

This is because government targets are prioritised over patient care. In addition, spending is capped, meaning barely half the population is covered.

The BDA also believes Thérèse has ‘offered nothing new, simply revisiting minor tweaks to the contract announced before summer recess, which do nothing to improve access, or halt the exodus of dentists from the NHS, and had no additional funding attached.’

As a result the BDA has pressed for a decisive break from the failed NHS contract.

‘We need real leadership’

BDA Chair Eddie Crouch said: ‘Today we saw little evidence government is ready to honour its pledges on NHS dentistry.

‘This isn’t a partisan issue. Underfunding and failed contracts can be fixed, but we need real leadership across Whitehall.

‘Millions of patients need these promises to be kept.’

A recent ITV investigation revealed that NHS dentistry continues to face serious challenges.

The investigation found that it has become ‘practically impossible’ to get an NHS appointment. In addition, more and more ‘dental deserts’ are appearing across the UK.

As a result, one dentist suggested people simply give up looking for an appointment.

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