MARK Jenkinson MP has welcomed the Conservative Government’s NHS Dental Recovery Plan to boost access to NHS dentistry across the country, as they today set out a raft of measures to deliver 2.5 million additional NHS dental appointments.
The move is part of a long-term plan to improve access and deliver on the Prime Minister’s commitment to cut waiting lists as well as creating a faster, simpler and fairer to meet patients’ needs.
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 needed most, and expanding preventative care for younger children to help reduce tooth decay.
Mark said: “Everyone should be able to access NHS dentistry quickly and easily, and I understand the frustration of people who struggle to get an NHS appointment – particularly as dentists forego NHS contracts for private work.
“I am therefore delighted that the Conservative Government has published its NHS Dental Recovery Plan, creating 2.5 million more NHS dental appointments over the next year – and I urge practices across the constituency to take up this new, and the existing, additional capacity.
“The Conservative Government is sticking to the plan to deliver immediate and long-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.”
“Dentistry is a priority for this government. I know from my experience representing a rural and coastal constituency in how frustrating it is for people who cannot get a dentist appointment, especially after the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on dentistry.
“I would also urge everyone to fill in my survey at www.mark-jenkinson.co.uk/gp-dentist-survey, which I launched as part of my ongoing efforts to address the access issues experienced by my constituents.”
To help improve access in the shorter term, new dental vans are being launched to help reach more isolated communities, including in rural and coastal areas.
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.
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.
In addition, trainee dental places will be expanded by 40 per cent as part of the first ever NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, as the Government looks to target the expansion into areas of the country which are presently underserved.
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.