Statement Regarding Labour Party Policy on NHS Dentisty

Danielle Lowe
By Danielle Lowe

Danielle Lowe is the Marketing Manager for, ( the UK’s largest aesthetic information website. 

The Faculty of Dental Surgery at RCSEd is encouraged by the outline plan for NHS dentistry proposed by the Labour Party, should they form the next Westminster government.

Changing the focus of care to prevention and starting the journey of prevention through a supervised toothbrushing programme for young children are positive steps forward, albeit we have concerns as to whether teachers have the capacity to undertake this.

The Faculty of Dental Surgery at RCSEd has long been concerned by the issue of lack of access to NHS dental care across the UK such that the indication of 700,000 urgent dental appointments is most welcome.

This, however, needs to be backed up with ongoing care for the adult population and include provision for dental care for the ageing population. We also note the incentives for 'new' dentists to work in areas of greatest need, although we further note that no provision has been made to stem the loss of access to NHS dentistry in such locations. Whilst we acknowledge this is a start, the commitment to NHS dentistry across the UK by Westminster and the devolved nations needs to be stepped up significantly. 

The recent King's Fund report on the health of the NHS showed that dentistry is significantly poorer relative in comparison to other parts of the NHS, with double the number of people being forced to skip dental compared to medical care in the UK, whether for financial reasons or lack of access. The 'safety net' is worryingly threadbare, with the burdens of financing dental care falling particularly heavily on people with lower incomes. This is having a substantial impact leading to patients forgoing the dental care they need.

Efforts to resource the NHS dental service throughout the UK urgently need to be redoubled to address the consequences of underfunding over many years. The Faculty of Dentistry at RCSEd would encourage all parties in the next Westminster elections to make access to dental care a top NHS priority.

Hamilton Fraser 2024

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