British Dental Association urges Health Secretary to act quickly to improve access to NHS dental care

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The British Dental Association has urged the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, to act quickly to improve access to NHS dental services.

The body has called for Mr Hancock to take urgent action to tackle access problems, which are becoming increasingly commonplace across the country, including the area of West Suffolk which Mr Hancock represents. Practices in Haverhill and Brandon are currently not accepting new NHS patients, and this is a snapshot of a much wider problem across England and Wales.

Analysis carried out by the BDA in Mr Hancock’s constituency revealed that just over 10% of practices in the region have places available, with around 25% offering new child places. The organisation has been critical of successive governments for failing to deliver an effective contract, and has accused the current government of stuttering with the development of a new contract, which was proposed several years ago. The current contract, which was introduced by Labour, limits the number of dental units, thus restricting the number of patients that can be treated.

The BDA has also called for Mr Hancock to increase spending on dental services, as per capita expenditure has fallen from £40.95 to £36 in the last five years.

Mr Hancock recently revealed plans to put prevention at the heart of NHS policies going forward, and dental organisations are eager to press the Health Secretary to invest more in preventative measures.

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