Andrea Leadsom celebrates launch of NHS Dental recovery plan
|Author: Jack Edwards - Conservative
|Published: 8th February 2024 10:44
Dame Andrea Leadsom, MP for South Northamptonshire and the Minister for Primary Care, has celebrated the launch of the NHS Dental Recovery Plan, announced by the government yesterday.
Patients will benefit from 2.5 million more NHS dental appointments over the next year, thanks to the new plan that will ensure easier and faster access to NHS dental care across England.
Under the plans, supported by £200m of government funding, NHS dentists will be given a ‘new patient’ payment of between £15-£50 (depending on treatment need) in addition to the usual payment, to treat new patients who have not seen an NHS dentist in two years or more.
The plan will also see the roll out of a new ‘Smile For Life’ programme which will see pregnant mums getting dental check-ups and parents-to-be offered advice on how to care for baby gums and milk teeth, with the aim that by the time they start primary 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 £20,000 for working in under-served areas for 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 roll out a marketing campaign encouraging anyone who has not been seen by a dentist for the past two years to access treatment.
New ways of delivering care in certain areas will also be rolled out, including launching ‘dental vans’ to help reach the least well served communities, including in Northamptonshire.
In addition, a water fluoridation programme will be rolled out by government. Subject to consultation, initially in the North East of England, but with a view to expanding across England.
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.
Dame Andrea said:
“I have been working on this plan since my first day as the Minister for Primary Care. Making sure every person who needs to access an NHS dentist can do so has been my priority, and this plan will deliver that for millions of people across for England.
Our new "Smile for Life" programme focuses on prevention so that pregnant mums, babies and toddlers will have good oral health right from the start. By the time every child reaches primary school, it’s our aim that tooth brushing will be part of their daily routine.
This plan will make a positive difference in South Northamptonshire, where as well as increasing provision in existing dental services, we will see dental vans provide mobile appointments to reach our more rural communities.
This Conservative Government is sticking to the plan to deliver immediate and medium- term change to improve access to NHS dentistry. Our ambitious commitments far exceed the pledges made by Labour and will ensure that everyone can access the right care and stay healthy for years to come.”