MPs say crisis of access to NHS dentistry must end

July 18, 2023

The House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee has called for fundamental reform of NHS dentistry to end a ‘crisis of access’ in a report published on 14th July.

Healthwatch England gave oral evidence to the Committee about the problems people have experienced accessing and affording an NHS dentist. Nearly 30 Local Healthwatch services also submitted insight on the challenges people face in their local area when it comes to getting dental care.  See Healthwatch England’s response to the report here.

The Committee describes evidence it reviewed of people’s pain and distress due to being unable to see an NHS dentist as ‘totally unacceptable in the 21st century’. 

Chair of the Committee Steve Brine MP said: “To hear of someone in such pain and distress that they resorted to using pliers to extract their teeth demonstrates the crisis in NHS dental services.

“Today we register in the strongest terms possible our concern for the future of NHS dental services and the patients who desperately need access to them.”

The Committee’s report makes several suggestions the Government should consider including reviewing the dental contract, workforce planning to ensure there are enough dentists, dental technicians and hygienists, and for local NHS bodies to commission dental services that meet the needs of local populations.


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