Under the government’s new Back to Work Plan, announced in today’s Autumn Statement, welfare claimants who refuse to engage in job seeking activities will be lose access to NHS dental care, free prescriptions and other benefits.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has made clear the reforms will not apply to claimants with children or disabilities.
No commitment was made to increase funding to NHS dentistry, which is struggling with a lack of dentists, a declining number of practices and a backlog of appointments.
Commenting on the announcement in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, Neil Carmichael, Executive Chair of the Association of Dental Groups (ADG), said:
“The threat of removing access to NHS dentistry assumes that people can readily obtain these services in the first place – we know this isn’t the case.
“ADG’s work on Dental Deserts shows that deprived areas are more likely to have shortages in NHS dentists. The ‘carrot and stick’ approach to welfare reform will not work when most people are already failing to access NHS dental care.
“Further affront is caused by the government’s failure to announce any additional funding for NHS dental services in today’s Autumn Statement. As the government makes empty threats, NHS dentistry continues its fall into decay. “
About the ADG
The Association of Dental Groups (ADG) is the trade association for large dental providers in the UK. Our members include 25 of the largest groups of dental practices in the country, representing approximately 10,000 clinicians delivering NHS and private dentistry to more than 10 million patients every year.
The ADG works for its members to improve the conditions for by investing in their patients and their people. We seek to improve quality and access to dentistry for patients by influencing the standards and shaping policy impacting Dental Groups. Our aim is to facilitate the provision of patient centred, high quality and consistent dental care by improving Dental Groups’ working environment.