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Size doesn’t matter: ‘Big package’ for NHS dentistry risks being empty

Following comments from Minister Andrea Leadsom that a “big package of change” is coming for NHS dentistry, the British Dental Association has warned there is still no sign the Government has any intention of taking action that will boost access and halt the exodus from the workforce.

The Government has repeatedly stated that “NHS dentistry should be accessible and available for all those who need it.” However, a Recovery Plan pledged last Spring remains undelivered, and the Government has rejected the key recommendation from the Health and Social Care Committee – to make a clean break from the discredited contract fuelling the exodus from the workforce.

The Nuffield Trust warned last month the service faces the gravest crisis in its 75-year history, and universal access to care may be dead without radical reform and investment. 

News follows recent reports of a surge in deaths from dental sepsis, fuelled by ongoing access problems. One clinician in the North of England reportedly described their local hospital as “like a battlefield” given the volume of cases.

BDA Chair Eddie Crouch said:

"The Government says there's going to be a 'big package' for NHS dentistry.

“Size really doesn't matter if the package is empty.“Ministers keep offering big ambitions but have not set out any concrete plans capable of achieving them.”