Everyone who needs a dentist should be able to get one, which is why the Government has today announced a major new plan to ensure easier and faster access to NHS dental care across England.
Under the plans, supported by £200m of government funding, patients will benefit from millions more NHS dental appointments over the next year, with a major new focus on prevention and good oral health in young children, and the delivery of an expanded dental workforce.
Under the Recovery Plan:
- NHS dentists will be given a ‘new patient’ payment of between £15-£50 (depending on treatment need) to treat around a million new patients who have not seen an NHS dentist in two years or more
- The Government will roll out a new ‘Smile For Life’ programme which will see parents and parents-to-be offered advice for baby gums and milk teeth, with the aim that by the time children go to school, every child will see tooth brushing as a normal part of their day
- To attract new NHS dentists and improve access to care in areas with the highest demand, around 240 dentists will be offered one-off payments of up to £20,000 for working in under-served areas for up to three years
- The public will be able to see which practices in their local area are accepting new patients on the NHS website and the NHS App
- NHS work will be made more attractive to dental teams with the minimum value of activity increasing to £28 (from £23)
- New ways of delivering care in rural and coastal areas will also be rolled out, including launching ‘dental vans’ to help reach the most isolated communities
- For the first time ever, a water fluoridation programme will be rolled out by government, which could reduce the number of tooth extractions due to decay in the most deprived areas of the country
This plan will ensure that 2.5 million additional NHS dental appointments are delivered for patients over the next 12 months, including up to 1.5 million extra treatments.
These long-term decisions taken will help ensure that good oral health is available to all, wherever you live and whatever your background.