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Dental targets putting patient safety at risk – MP

February 11, 2021 4:55 PM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has written to the Minister for Prevention, Public Health and Primary Care, Jo Churchill, to urge the Government to abandon dental targets which are putting patient safety at risk.

From January 1st, dental practitioners in the NHS were told they needed to more than double their level of activity and risk being financially penalised if they fail to meet those targets.

The British Dental Association have warned that the new targets will mean "an increased patient footfall to levels that are potentially unsafe" and "risks devastating NHS dental services in England".

Dentists' leaders have also warned that this move will force dentists to shift focus from the heavy backlog of priority urgent cases to high volumes of routine check-ups which take up less time.

In his letter to the health minister, Tim said: "Social distancing, fallow times between appointments, and the time taken to don and doff PPE have reduced the number of patients which can be seen in a session.

"Additionally, many patients have simply not prioritised dental visits throughout the COVID crisis. To most of the public, anything other than absolutely essential dental work runs contrary to the Government's message to 'Stay at Home. Protect the NHS. Save Lives.'

"Dentists feel that they are now being forced to put patient safety and the future of their practices in jeopardy.

"I ask that you abandon these targets and prioritise supporting dentists and praising them for the work they are already doing during this extremely difficult time."