Derek Thomas, the Conservative MP for St Ives, stressed that the biggest problem facing dentists in Cornwall was the current contract, which he argued "is no longer fit for purpose" and "holds dentistry away from people that need it". He called on the Minister to give a statement updating Parliament on her intentions to reform the dental system.
Sir Robert Goodwill, the Conservative MP for Scarborough and Whitby, echoed his colleague's comments, urging the Minister to set a date for the end of the UDA framework to help with recruitment and retention of NHS dentists. This follows Sir Robert's recent meeting with GDPC Chair Shawn Charlwood where the two discussed the problems facing the sector and the urgent need for reform.
In her responses, the Minister Maria Caulfield MP said the "the disastrous contract of 2006 is really putting perverse disincentives for NHS dentists to take on NHS work." She stressed that the Government was working on reforming it, but did not indicate when a new system might be rolled out.
We continue to lobby the Government and MPs about the need to reform the dental contract and increase investment in NHS dentistry. We are currently facilitating an application from a large group of MPs for a long debate in Parliament on this issue, which we hope will be granted in the coming weeks, helping to put the pressure on the Government to address the serious issues facing the sector as a matter of urgency.