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Budget leaves NHS dentistry in last chance saloon

The British Dental Association has lamented the budget's failure to recognise the challenges facing dental services across England. It follows calls from both the BDA and Healthwatch England to provide vital funding for the recovery and rebuild of services, which was backed yesterday by over 40 cross-party MPs.

Reform of the widely discredited model the service operates to was pledged by April 2022. Dentist leaders have expressed disbelief that no commitments have been made to provide the necessary resources to deal with the backlogs and underpin a transition to a new and sustainable model of care.

Over 35 million appointments have been lost in England since lockdown, and even before COVID funding was sufficient to cover barely half the population.

The 50% business rates discount extended to the retail and hospitality sectors once again leaves high street dentists as among the only businesses on the high street not receiving needed support.

The BDA had joined with public health leaders in early October for a reversal of savage cuts to local public health budgets. There are no indications the Treasury appears willing to change tack.

British Dental Association Chair Eddie Crouch said:

"MPs have recognised NHS dentistry is in the last chance saloon.

"Sadly the Chancellor has offered this service no help clearing the backlogs, no support for the rebuild and recovery, and no boost for public health.

"COVID busted an already failed system, but any reform plan is doomed without new investment.

"Any credible 'levelling up' agenda cannot ignore millions of patients with no hope of securing needed care."