Dentistry: Access for Cancer Patients

Part of Antimicrobial Resistance – in Westminster Hall am 5:37 pm ar 17 Ebrill 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Andrea Leadsom Andrea Leadsom The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 5:37, 17 Ebrill 2024

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Dowd. I congratulate Andrew Western on securing this really important debate on behalf of Michele and all the other petitioners. I would of course be delighted to meet Michele to hear her views, and I particularly take note of her call for all cancer patients to be advised of the potential impact of cancer treatment on their oral health. That is a really solid and actionable thing that I undertake to take away today. I look forward to meeting Michele and the hon. Gentleman in due course.

I wish to take this chance to pay tribute to the Mouth Cancer Foundation, the Oral Health Foundation and Dentaid, to name just a few of the excellent charities that provide support and advice to so many.

I thank all Members who have spoken in what has been an excellent debate. I say to Richard Foord that I fully appreciate the challenges in Devon. He will no doubt welcome the fact that a mobile dental van, which will be quite a boost for very underserved and geographically distant areas, will be forthcoming for Devon in the near future. In addition, one of the real problems in Devon—this is not the hon. Gentleman’s fault at all—is that in his area on average only around 57% of commissioned units of dental activity are actually undertaken by dentists. I am sure he might like to talk to his local integrated care board about that, if I can help in any way, I would be delighted to.

As I will come on to talk about, our dental recovery plan attempts to incentivise further NHS dentists to really ramp up delivery. In fact, we have already seen hundreds of thousands of new dental treatments just since 1 March, when the plan went live. Unfortunately, the data is not publishable as yet, but I feel really optimistic. I totally understand what Members say about it being not good enough—I totally get that—but we are seeing rapid improvements and I encourage the hon. Gentleman to talk to his local ICB.