MPs launch inquiry into dentistry

The Health and Social Care Committee has put out a call for evidence for its newly launched inquiry into dentistry.

MPs will look at the steps needed to improve access to NHS dental services and will examine potential reforms to the dental contract, including the extent to which it disincentivises dentists from taking on new patients.

Research published by the BBC in August found that 90% of practices across the UK were not accepting new adult NHS patients. It also uncovered stark regional variation and analysis from Healthwatch England suggested that seven of the 42 regional Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) had no practices accepting new NHS patients in December 2021.

The inquiry will examine how inequality of access can be addressed, the potential impact of changes to make new ICSs and Integrated Care Boards responsible for the provision of dental services, and what incentives can be offered to recruit and retain dental professionals.

‘People resorting to DIY dentistry, even taking out their own teeth without anaesthetic or medical care are stories that should belong to another era yet such events are reported to be happening here today,’ said Committee chair Steve Brine MP.

‘We’re launching an inquiry to ask why dental treatment is so difficult to find and to establish what the government and NHS England must do to improve access and reduce such unnecessary pain and suffering.’

The Committee is inviting written submissions of no more than 3,000 words by Wednesday 25 January.