Harlow MP responds to concerns over NHS dentistry

13 January 2024

Robert Halfon, minister for Harlow and the Villages, has released a statement in response to concerns about access to NHS dentists following an Opposition Day debate in parliament on January 9, 2023.

Robert commented on NHS dental services, “I understand that residents across Harlow and the Villages are concerned by the challenges in registering at NHS dental practices and accessing NHS dentists when they need them. Improving access to NHS dentistry is a key priority for the government. 

“This government is taking action to make it easier for everyone to access NHS dental services:

  1. Investing in NHS dentistry - This government is investing £3bn per year to improve NHS dentistry. From more appointments to better pay for dentists, this money will improve access to NHS services by ensuring the best-performing dental practices are able to see more patients and offer their important services to even more Harlow residents. 
  2. Support for local practices - By reforming the way dental practices are funded by the NHS, this government is incentivising more private providers to offer NHS care, increasing the number of services provided and making it easier for people to get an appointment. The government has also offered local dentists over £1.7bn in support to recover from the pandemic and to protect local services. 
  3. More NHS dentists - This government is also boosting the number of dentists available to deliver NHS services and incentivising more people to join the profession. In fact, there has been a 40 per cent increase in the number of training places available to ensure we have a pipeline of qualified and highly skilled dentists in line with the future needs of our communities. 

“Whilst work is underway to improve access to NHS dental services, there is still much to do and the government will shortly be publishing a dentistry recovery plan, which will deliver vital changes to ensure dentists in Harlow and across the country are better incentivised and better prepared to deliver NHS care.

“I would like to put on record my sincere thanks and appreciation to everybody in Harlow and the Villages who work heroically within NHS services to deliver outstanding care to all our residents. As with all NHS staff, our dentists, hygienists, nurses and support staff work tirelessly to offer vital dental care, and this government will do all it can to deliver what’s needed to improve access to these services and support those working within them.”