The British Dental Association (BDA) has said the future of NHS dentistry in England will now hinge on action from Downing Street, the Treasury, and the Department of Health, following the election of Liz Truss and the appointment of her new top team.
The BDA believes the NHS contract dentists in England work to is fuelling this crisis. Minor 'tweaks' to this contract announced before the summer recess do nothing to improve access or halt the exodus of dentists from the NHS, and had no additional funding attached.
The BDA is seeking a decisive break from this failed, target-based contract, underpinned by sustainable investment. It estimates it would take an extra £880m a year simply to restore resources to 2010 levels. It has stressed government objectives to improve access and boost retention cannot be achieved within the financial constraints set by the Treasury.
Thérèse Coffey was appointed as the new secretary of state for health and social care and deputy prime minister.
In a post-appointment television interview Thérèse said her priorities for the coming weeks were “ABCD” – ambulances, backlogs, care, doctors and dentists.
Thérèse has previously championed dental access in her Suffolk constituency, recently commenting that, “The lack of NHS dental provision has become an increasing issue here in East Suffolk and I’ve been constantly pressing the case on behalf of patients … at a time when people are struggling to access care, even resorting to pulling out their own teeth and the campaign group Toothless in Suffolk has been formed to fight for better provision in the county. I have much more confidence in the local NHS to address this key issue rather than the center, which has been letting us down”.
Eddie Crouch, BDA chair said, “These three politicians will determine whether NHS dentistry has a future.
“Like millions of others, their constituents have few options. To save this service the new residents of Number 10, the Treasury, and the Department of Health must act now.
“The PM said action on the access crisis would be a top priority. After a decade of savage cuts any progress requires real reform and fair funding.”