Commons inquiry details revealed

The Health Select Committee has announced the details of its inquiry into NHS dental services.

The Committee, a cross-party Parliamentary group whose purpose is to scrutinise the work of the Department of Health, will examine NHS dental and orthodontic services, looking at both General Dental Services (GDS) and Personal Dental Services (PDS). The Committee’s inquiry will explore the principles underlying the reforms to dental services which took effect in April 2006, and the extent to which those changes have been consistent with these principles.

The Committee’s inquiry will focus particularly on the impact of the reforms on:
• The role of PCTs in commissioning dental services
• Numbers of NHS dentists and the numbers of patients registered with them
• Numbers of private sector dentists and the numbers of patients registered with them
• The work of allied professions
• Patients’ access to NHS dental care
• The quality of care provided to patients
• The extent to which dentists are encouraged to provide preventative care and advice
• Dentists’ workloads and incomes
• The recruitment and retention of NHS dental practitioners.

The Committee will also consider, as part of its inquiry, the Department of Health’s report, NHS Dental Reforms: one year on, which reviewed the first year’s operation of the new contracts.

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