Small tweaks to NHS dentistry at least a decade overdue

Nigel Edwards responds to the announcement on NHS dentistry reforms.

Press release

Published: 19/07/2022

Responding to an NHS England announcement on reforms of NHS dentistry, Nuffield Trust Chief Executive Nigel Edwards said:

“The reforms announced today are welcome, but small and at least a decade overdue. Despite its great importance, dentistry remains an overlooked and neglected area of policy. It is not clear whether these reforms are a sufficient answer to the growing crisis in access to NHS dentistry. It needs a big overhaul rather than small tweaks at the edges.

“A lack of investment and misalignment between costs and funding have made it increasingly unattractive to be an NHS dentist. The resulting exodus of dentists has fuelled growing waiting times.

“While more money to help high-performing dental surgeries see more NHS patients is helpful, it does not address the problem that many areas in England have little or no access to an NHS dentist. I am afraid that people will for some time yet need to choose between long waits for a dental appointment or high costs for private care.”

Notes to editors