The British Dental Association (BDA) has welcomed news that the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee has announced an inquiry into dental services.
The Committee will be inviting written evidence on a wide range of topics including:
- What is the state of the relationship between the NHS and dentistry?
- How satisfactory are the arrangements for the provision of dental services by the NHS?
- Are current arrangements contributing to the widening of health inequality?
- How could access to NHS dentistry be improved?
- What issues are affecting the wider dental workforce?
- What needs to be included in, or removed from, the forthcoming NHS dental contract?
- Is there enough focus on prevention in dentistry and what are the avoidable harms that could be addressed?
The BDA has been working to expose the deficiencies in dental access, funding and strategy and raise the profile of dentistry in Parliament. The inquiry follows repeated conversations with both the Chair Dr Sarah Wollaston and other members of the Committee.
News follows the BDA securing an inquiry and a hearing from the Public Accounts Committee, which has already delivered a U-turn on the government’s controversial ‘fines first’ approach to NHS penalty charges.
BDA Chair Mick Armstrong said: “We have pulled out all the stops to push NHS dentistry up the political agenda. Now the Health and Social Care Committee has a chance to shine a light on a system that is failing patients and practitioners across England.
“The Government has yet to wake up to the full scale of the crisis in NHS dental services. But on contracts and funding, on access and recruitment, we will use this inquiry as another chance to make the point that problems made in Westminster can only be fixed in Westminster.”