Progress on reforms to NHS dentistry : parliamentary briefing

A briefing for Members of Parliament ahead of a Backbench Business Committee debate on progress on reforms to NHS dentistry.

27 April 2023

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The Boards of all Integrated Care Systems (ICS) took on the commissioning of NHS dentistry from NHS England on 1st April 2022.

As the NHS Confederation has all 42 ICS in membership, we have been speaking with members to understand their thinking as this change gets underway and to see what lessons can be learned from the seven ‘early adopter’ ICS who have already been given these dentistry commissioning powers.

This change in commissioning arrangements offers the ability to do things differently – with ICS being ideally placed to commission services across whole oral health pathways that meet the particular needs of a local population, meaning there is a real opportunity ahead. To make the most of this opportunity, there are a number of things ICS leaders want to see from government – these need to happen without delay:

  • An improved contract that is fit for purpose.
  • The inclusion of dentistry roles in the government’s long-term NHS workforce plan, which must be fully funded by Treasury.
  • Flexibility for local NHS leaders to commission services as best meets the needs of the local population.
  • ICS to be able to invest dental underspend in new projects across multiple years.