England: MPs keep up the pressure on contract reform
20 April 2022
Dentistry was a key focus at the latest oral health questions in the House of Commons, with eight MPs from across the House challenging the Minister on the crisis in NHS dental services.
MPs challenging the Minister on the crisis in NHS dental services
The Father of the House Sir Peter Bottomley MP stressed the only way to address issues with access is for dentists to be properly rewarded for the work they do. "Dentists and patients would be grateful for a change in the contract" he concluded. DUP health spokesman Jim Shannon MP echoed his calls for improving the way dentists get paid, saying it was necessary "to stop the haemorrhaging of NHS dentistry provision".
Steve Brine MP pointed out that the need for contract reform was clear back when he was the Minister responsible for dentistry a number of years ago, and pressed the Government on how it can help practices in the short term while the negotiations on the new contract are ongoing. His colleague Maria Miller MP called for more co-ordination and accountability in dental commissioning, stressing this was an area that was "central to our health".
Shadow Health Minister Feryal Clark MP urged the Government to get on with reforming the contract, questioning "when will this Government, who have had 12 years to do so, finally come up with some practical solutions that put patients' needs first, rather than the half-baked, unworkable ideas we have heard to date?"
In her responses the Minister Maria Caulfield MP acknowledged that "there isn't a shortage of dentists across the country, there is a shortage of dentists taking on NHS work, and the contract is the nub of the problem". She assured MPs work on contract reform was underway and she would be announcing some short-term contractual changes shortly.
We continue to work across Parliament to keep dentistry at the top of the agenda and keep up the pressure on the Government to deliver the necessary change our members need.