Health and Social Care Committee: Inquiry into Dental Services

The House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee is holding an inquiry into dentistry services. The Committee is inviting written submissions on the following issues:

  • 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? Are there inequalities in access to dentistry services? If so, why, and what could be done to address them? 
  • Where does dentistry fit within NHS primary care services? What opportunities are presented by the development of primary care networks? 
  • What issues are affecting the wider dental workforce? What steps need to be taken to address them? Is sufficient data available on the workforce and if not, how should it be improved?
  • What are the issues in commissioning and payment systems for NHS dental services? How can they be improved?
  • 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? What more can be done to encourage prevention and what can be learnt from best practice in other parts of the UK and EU?
  • What should be done around fluoridation policy and what is the evidence base to support it?

We would strongly urge you to engage with this inquiry and submit your responses using their online portal:

The BSP is replying to this inquiry but it would greatly strengthen the voice for periodontal treatment in the UK if our membership also replied as individuals.

As you will be aware, periodontal disease affects a large number of people in the UK which impacts on function, oral and systemic health (including outcomes such as metabolic control in diabetes) and can be simply managed and prevented with a cost benefit overall. The Adult Dental Health Survey suggested that 80% of adults over 55 have gum problems, and that 9% of adults (c 5,000,000 estimated) have severe gum disease.

There is now considerable supportive evidence for the closer cross collaboration between medical and dental services in primary care for mutual benefit.

In addition, the current funding pattern for NHS GDS makes provision of cost-effective periodontal care for susceptible patients challenging. There are currently inadequate facilities to train the number of staff ranging from hygienists through to specialists to manage this problem, and as a result there is a logjam of patients trying to access inadequate / non-existent secondary and tertiary specialist services in many parts of the UK. It is vitally important that these issues are raised with the Committee.

Please note that all responses should be returned by Friday 13th September 2019.