Julia Lopez MP has welcomed the Government’s Plan to Recover and Reform NHS Dentistry. Under this plan, patients will benefit from millions more NHS dental appointments over the next year through easier and faster access to NHS dental care across England.
The Government’s plan is supported with £200 million funding, providing NHS dentists with 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 plan could see up to 2.5 million additional NHS dental appointments delivered for patients over the next 12 months, including up to 1.5 million extra treatments being delivered. It sets out how the NHS and government will drive a major new focus on prevention and good oral health in young children and deliver an expanded dental workforce. A new ‘Smile For Life’ programme will be launched 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 also be able to see which practices in their local area are accepting new patients on the NHS website and the NHS App. To promote the increased availability of appointments, the government will also roll out a marketing campaign encouraging anyone who has not been seen by a dentist for the past two years to access treatment. NHS work will also be made more attractive to dental teams with the minimum value of activity increasing to £28 (from £23).
The health service will build a pipeline of new dentists and other dental care professionals, including increasing dental training places by up to 40% by 2031/32, as part of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan. The plan, published today, also includes new measures to attract dentists to work in the NHS, including supporting more graduate dentists to work in NHS care. The government will consult on whether dentists should be required to work in the NHS for a period upon completion of their training.
Commenting, Julia Lopez MP said ‘The Government’s new plan for NHS dentistry will truly improve access to dentists nationwide. I know some constituents have struggled to register with new dentists in Havering, something I have previously raised with our local Integrated Care System. This new investment and dedication to improving recruitment will help alleviate pressures on oral care and improve services in our area.’