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Petitions had to stop because of the recent general election. Once a new Petitions Committee is set up by the House of Commons, petitions will start again.

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Closed petition Extend Maternity Exemption Certificates

Get maternity exemption certificates extended for those who have not been able to use them during the COVID lockdown.

More details

Women who are entitled to free dental care and other benefits due to the maternity exemption certificates have been unable to use them due to the COVID closing dentists. Women’s teeth can deteriorate during pregnancy, so let’s get these certificates extended so women can benefit from the free dental care.

This petition is closed All petitions run for 6 months

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Government responded

This response was given on 9 February 2021

The Government has no plan to extend maternity exemption certificates. All NHS dentistry has been open from 8 June 2020. Pregnant women and new mothers are encouraged to access treatment as necessary.

Read the response in full

The Government has no plans to extend maternity exemption certificates. Pregnant women and new mothers who have given birth within the last 12 months are exempt from NHS dental charges. Whilst NHS dental practices were closed for face to face care during the first national lockdown period, practices continued to provide remote advice, analgesics and antibiotics. Urgent face to face care was provided from over 600 urgent dental care centres across the country, established by NHS England and Improvement regional commissioners. Therefore, any urgent treatment a pregnant woman or new mother needed, during this period, should have been available.

Since the 8th of June 2020, all NHS dental practices have been able to offer face to face care, supported by the urgent dental care centres that continue to remain open and supporting the provision of urgent care. NHS England and NHS Improvement have issued guidance setting out the priority order in which patients should be seen, focusing on urgent treatment, particularly for vulnerable groups, followed by routine care which is overdue. Anyone concerned with their oral health, including pregnant women and new mothers, should therefore contact their dental practice to access treatment.

Across England, a steady increase in dental activity has now been made possible following updated Prevention and Control guidance issued by Public Health England which has reduced the time needed to rest a room between patients. This has enabled NHS England and Improvement to set new targets for the level of activity provided by NHS dental contractors between 1 January and 31 March 2021. This is hoped to further increase the availability of vital NHS dental care for patients, reduce waiting times and address backlogs of dental care.

Department of Health and Social Care

Petitions Committee announce follow-up session on the impact of covid-19 on new parents

The Petitions Committee will hear from petition creators and expert witnesses on the impact of covid-19 on new parents and childcare providers on Wednesday 14 July.

Watch the session (on Wednesday 14 July from 9.30am): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lERhUe98ASU&feature=youtu.be

The evidence session marks one year since the publication of the Committee's report into the impact of covid-19 on maternity and parental leave.

Read a summary of the Committee’s full report: https://houseofcommons.shorthandstories.com/how-has-maternity-and-parental-leave-been-impacted-by-coronavirus-/index.html

The session will investigate what progress has been made against the problems identified and recommendations made to the Government in the report.

Witnesses include petition signatories, and representatives from campaign and sector bodies Pregnant then Screwed, the Early-Years Alliance, Adoption-UK and others. A full list of witnesses is available on the Petitions Committee website: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/156378/committee-announces-evidence-session-on-the-impact-of-covid19-on-new-parents/

Survey on the impact of covid-19 on new parents

Last month, we asked you to share your experiences through an online survey to help inform the session. We also asked the experiences of Mumsnet users. Key findings from this engagement include:

  • Access to baby and toddler groups, which provide vital support for both parents and children, remains limited even as restrictions ease. 68% of respondents told us they strongly disagreed with the statement that “I have been able to access baby and toddler groups over the past 12 months”
  • 77% of respondents told us they strongly agree or agree with the statement that “The cost of childcare has prevented me from getting the kind of childcare I need”
  • 72% of respondents who said they ran or worked for a childcare setting told us they expected the pandemic to have a major or moderate effect on their setting’s long-term financial sustainability

You can read a full summary of what new parents and childcare providers told us on our website: https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/37718/pdf/

What are evidence sessions?

Evidence sessions are open meetings with experts, officials or people with personal experiences with the topic being examined. Evidence sessions help select committees like the Petitions Committee to understand how laws and Government policies are working in the real world, and what needs to change to make things better.

Further information

Find out more about the role of the Petitions Committee: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/role/

Follow the Committee on Twitter for real-time updates on its work: https://www.twitter.com/hocpetitions

Find out more about select committees: https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/committees/select/

Government's response to 'Impact of covid-19 on new parents' report delayed

The Government has told the Petitions Committee that their response to the Committee's latest report on the Impact of covid-19 on new parents will be delayed. The Government’s response was expected by 7 December, as the Government is expected to respond to all select committee reports within two months.

In a letter dated 13 December, Maggie Throup MP, a Minister in the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), says this is to allow time for the DHSC to coordinate with other departments on its response.

We will let you know once the Government's response has been received and published.

Read the letter: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/8265/documents/84382/default/

Find out more: https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/326/petitions-committee/news/159915/government-delay-in-responding-to-report-is-disappointing-says-chair-of-the-petitions-committee/

Chair of the Petitions Committee responds to delayed Government response

Commenting on the delay in responding to the Committee's report, Catherine McKinnell MP, Chair of the Petitions Committee, said:

"I am disappointed the Government has failed to respond to our report on the impact of covid-19 on new parents on time. New parents, who have faced an accumulation of adversity during the pandemic, could be forgiven for seeing this delay as yet another sign that the Government is ignoring them.

"While I appreciate our report calls for coordinated action across Government, it is vital that Ministers provide a meaningful response to our constructive recommendations at the earliest opportunity, to ensure new parents are not let down any further."

The Petitions Committee's report on the impact of covid-19 on new parents

The Committee’s report, published in October, made a number of recommendations to the Government calling for better support for new parents and their babies, including for a dedicated covid-19 recovery strategy for new parents, and additional ‘catch-up’ mental health support.

Read the report [HTML]: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5802/cmselect/cmpetitions/479/47903.htm

Read the report [PDF]: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/7477/documents/78447/default/

Read the report summary: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5802/cmselect/cmpetitions/479/47903.htm

Read the report's conclusions and recommendations: https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5802/cmselect/cmpetitions/479/47910.htm