Surrey Heath MP, Michael Gove, has welcomed the launch of the Conservative Government’s NHS Dental Recovery Plan, as part of its long-term plan to improve access to NHS dentistry and deliver on the Prime Minister’s commitment to cut waiting lists.
Backed by £200 million of new Government funding, the plan sets out a package of measures to deliver 2.5 million additional NHS dental appointments over the next 12 months, ensuring they are where they are needed most, and expanding preventative care for younger children to help reduce tooth decay.
To help improve access in the short term, new dental vans are being launched to help reach more isolated communities, including in rural and coastal areas. In the longer term, 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, helping to attract new NHS dentists and improve provision of care in areas with the highest demand.
Further measures include introducing a New Patient Premium payment to incentivise dentists to treat around a million new patients who have not seen an NHS dentist in two years or more. The scheme will be introduced within weeks, ensuring that patients can benefit immediately. The minimum value of activity will also increase from £23 to £28 and high-performing practices will also be able to deliver extra work on top of their contracted activity, ensuring that NHS work is more attractive to dental teams.
Trainee dental places will be expanded by 40 per cent as part of the first ever NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, as the Conservative Government looks to target the expansion into areas of the country which are underserved by the dental workforce.
Expanded prevention care is also being rolled out for younger children to help reduce tooth decay and improve the nation’s oral health. The Smile for Life programme will offer parents-to-be further advice for baby gums and milk teeth with babies and toddlers in nurseries having tooth brushing as part of the daily routine, so that every child in primary school will see tooth brushing as a normal part of their day.
The Government will consult on wider reforms to the dental workforce and contract in 2024, taking the long-term decisions to ensure that dental services can be there for families for the years to come.
The Conservative Government is delivering its plan to improve access to NHS dentistry and cut waiting lists, ensuring that we build a brighter and healthier future for everyone.
Commenting, Michael Gove said:
“I know there are many constituents in Surrey Heath who have struggled to access NHS dental care, so I am delighted that the Conservative Government has published its NHS Dental Recovery Plan, backed by £200 million of new Government funding. This will help to create many more appointment, ensuring more people get the help and care they need.”
Health and Social Care Secretary, Victoria Atkins MP said:
“Dentistry is a priority for this government. I know from my experience representing a rural and coastal constituency in Lincolnshire how frustrating it is for people who cannot get a dentist appointment, especially after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on dentistry. We have seen big improvements over the past year, but now we are going much further.
“I’m determined to deliver faster, simpler and fairer access to NHS dentistry for patients – and this plan will help anyone who has not been able to see a dentist in the past two years to do so.
“The long-term decisions we are taking will help ensure that good oral health is available to all, wherever you live and whatever your background.”