‘Vital’ dentists are allowed to return to work, says MP

An MP is calling on the government to set out 'return to work' details for dentistry following fears that patients are struggling to access careAn MP is calling on the government to set out ‘return to work’ details for dentistry following fears that patients are struggling to access care. 

Esther McVey, MP for Tatton, said it is ‘vital’ dentists are allowed to return to practice and should be able to reopen if they wish.

She said dentists are ‘fully aware’ of the precautions and measures that need to be taken to protect patients and staff.

She is urging the government to put together a timetable so dental teams can appropriately plan for future care.

‘The Prime Minister has set out the roadmap for the next phase of our response to COVID-19. This includes setting out when he expects hairdressers, some shops and other facilities to be open – but there has been no mention of dentists,’ she said.

‘After speaking to dentists, they are concerned there are patients that are in pain who cannot get the appropriate level of care, or access emergency provision.

‘Dentists are highly-skilled healthcare professionals and they are fully aware of the measures needed to protect themselves and their patients. They do this every day.’

She added: ‘They will know what additional measures they need to take or put in place to ensure both their safety and that of the patient.

‘It is vital they are allowed back to work or at least given a timetable for when surgeries can reopen.’

Access troubles for patients

This comes as more than 100 MPs banded together to fight for the extension of financial support to private practices. 

In a letter to the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, 101 MPs called for:

  • The £50,000 cap to be raised on the self-employment income support scheme (SEISS)
  • Easier access to the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS)
  • Business rates relief to be extended to all practices

Additionally, more than 150 dentists have now signed an open letter to health secretary Matt Hancock calling for surgeries to reopen following the spike in DIY dentistry.

Ms McVey said: ‘Not everyone needing emergency treatment will be able to travel to one of the urgent care hubs. They may not meet the very strict criteria to access the treatment and, therefore, are having to go without treatment.

‘I am also sure there will be people who may be in pain and are not seeking help, which stores up problems for the future. In addition to the emergencies, routine check ups have not been happening for months.

‘Dentists play a vital role in ensuring oral health and often spot problems early – and all this work is building up.’


This story is part of Dentistry’s ‘Back to Practice’ campaign, which gets behind the growing drive for dental teams to get back to work.