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Meg Munn MP - Sheffield Heeley's voice in Parliament | Welcome
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New schemes for dentists welcomed

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

Options for Change

Meg Munn, Labour and Co-operative MP for Sheffield Heeley has today welcomed the news that Pilot schemes for dentists to develop new ways of working and improve patient care will be set in motion after the publication of a new report.

NHS Dentistry - Options for Change was produced by chief dental officer Dame Margaret Seward to explore new ways of improving oral health in England.

The NHS Modernisation Agency will now work through volunteer sites to improve patient experiences with an emphasis on the prevention of dental disease.

More flexible payment and rewards structures will also be trialled to improve the working lives of dentists and help them provide accessible, good quality, patient-focused care.

Currently dentists are paid according to the numbers and types of work they carry out, leading to concerns amongst some patients of a culture of "drill and fill." The NHS will now examine the possibility of paying dentists a salary instead so that they will be able to afford to spend a lot more time on preventative oral health care.

Meg Munn, who asked Hazel Blears, the then Health Minister responsible for dentistry, a question in Parliament in February about the way that dentists earn their wages, after chatting to her own dentist about the problems dentists face, said

"I am delighted that the Government is exploring new ways of modernising dentistry. It is time to recognise the importance of preventative work. At the moment there is no incentive for dentists to do this vital work. I hope the schemes will be the beginning of a positive and lasting change."

Notes to Editor

1. February 8th 2002 Ms Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to change the way in which dentists are remunerated in order to encourage greater preventive care. [17959]

Ms Blears: While there are no immediate plans to change the way dentists are remunerated, we are continuing to work with the profession and other stakeholders to modernise national health service dentistry and to improve systems of delivery for NHS dentistry.




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