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​Securing commitments on NHS dentistry

“Where’s the plan?” That’s the simple message on NHS dentistry we’ve taken to the parties as they gather for their annual conferences.

Four dentists stand outside a political party conference in front of a sign saying 'NHS dentistry isn't working'


Six months on, we’re still waiting on the Government to publish its promised recovery plan, so we’re encouraged the opposition are now stepping up with their own proposals.

The Labour leadership has just set out both short-term and long-term plans. We know the Government’s £50m ‘dental treatment blitz’ was doomed to failure. So, following engagement with the party, we believe their commitment for £100m in recurrent, annual funding for urgent care in the next parliament represents a workable alternative.

We’re encouraged by agreement to move forward in dialogue with the profession on fundamental reform of the broken NHS contract, and for rollout of a national supervised brushing scheme in early years settings.

On recovery, reform and prevention consensus is building, with the Liberal Democrats also making clear and very welcome commitments.

We’ve shown that NHS dentistry is hanging by a thread, and every party has a moral responsibility to set out a plan. And we won’t stop. The scenes we have seen – from queues at dawn outside practices to DIY dentistry –have no place in a wealthy 21st century nation.

The Government pledged its recovery plan in April 2023. In July the Health and Social Care Committee concluded its inquiry – underpinned by damning evidence from our members – which described the state of the service as "unacceptable in the 21st century."

It set out recommendations for real, urgent reform, alongside a call for any recovery plan to be underpinned by necessary funding. The Government’s response to the inquiry has been overdue since 14 September 2023.

NHS dentistry shouldn’t be a partisan issue. This matters to all patients and should matter to all parties. We sincerely hope the Government will now move forward on all these fronts.


Image: Dentists on the campaign trail at Conservative Party Conference