Calderdale's dental crisis: Contract changes aimed at helping more people see an NHS dentist

Changes have been made to dentists' contracts in a bid to help more people in Calderdale and the rest of the country see an NHS dentist.

By sarah fitton
Sunday, 31st July 2022, 7:00 pm
Updated Sunday, 31st July 2022, 7:01 pm

MP for the Calder Valley Craig Whittaker said reforms to the NHS dental contract - the first in 16 years - will mean NHS dentists will be paid more for treating more complex cases, such as people who need three fillings or more.

Dental therapists will also be able to accept patients for NHS treatments - providing fillings, sealants and preventative care for adults and children - to free up dentists’ time for urgent and complicated cases.

To make services more accessible for people, dentists must update the NHS website and directory of services so patients can easily find the availability of dentists in their local area.

The changes will be made to NHS dentists' contracts (Getty Images)

High-performing dental practices will have the opportunity to increase their activity by a further 10 per cent and to see as many patients as possible.

Mr Whittaker said: "It is a vital priority to improve patient access to NHS dental care, due to the severe backlog.

"I'm delighted that the we are making these reforms to ensure that we are rewarding dentists more fairly for providing more complex care, allowing the best performing practices to see more patients and making better use of the range of professionals."

MP for Halifax Holly Lynch launched a petition to Parliament earlier this year expressing concern over people's inability to access NHS dentists after Calderdale Healthwatch reported that it had contacted every dental surgery in Calderdale and not one was registering new NHS patients of any age.

"The system which repays dentists for the NHS work they undertake is broken and has been for years," she said.

"Around 3,000 dentists in England have left the NHS since the start of the pandemic, pushing NHS dentistry to near collapse.

"These reforms will only work if those dentists come back into the NHS, so time will tell if these reforms mean local people can finally see a dentist.”

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No dentists in Calderdale taking on new NHS patients in Calderdale or Kirklees