The Government has today published its NHS Dental Recovery Plan, which sets out the measures that will be implemented to ensure easier and faster access to NHS dental care across England.
The plan will see over 2.5 million additional NHS dental treatments delivered for patients over the next 12 months, alongside targeted measures to improve the nation’s oral health including expanding prevention care for younger children to help reduce tooth decay.
Anthony Mangnall, MP for Totnes & South Devon, has welcomed the publication of this plan, having recently spoken in a House of Commons debate on this issue. During the debate in January, Mr Mangnall called for a reform of the UDA system in which dentists are remunerated for NHS work, as well as proposing measures such as mobile dental units and greater roles for dental therapists.
The Government’s plan aims to make sure everyone who needs to see a dentist, particularly those who have been unable to access care in the past two years, will be able to do so, making access to care faster and fairer. There will also be a major new focus on prevention and good oral health in young children, and an expanded NHS dental workforce will be delivered. NHS work will also be made more attractive to dental teams with the minimum value of activity increasing to £28 (from £23).
Dentists will be offered a bonus to take on more NHS patients, which will create more than 1.5 million new treatments, as well as cash incentives to work in areas that are under-served. This will allow around 1 million new patients access NHS dental treatment. The Government already invests £3 billion in dentistry each year, with this plan adding a further £200 million.
As well as offering up to 240 dentists £20,000 to stay and deliver NHS care for at least three years in areas where recruitment and retention of dentists is difficult, a new dental vans service will be available for targeted rural and coastal communities in underserved areas. The first vans will be up and running later this year.
Children’s oral health will be supported by the ‘Smile for Life’ initiative, which will offer reception age children vital prevention measures to reduce dental decay and give them a healthier smile. By the time they reach primary school, the government aim to have every child viewing daily toothbrushing and good oral hygiene as part of their daily routine.
Mobile dental teams will be going into schools of under-served areas to provide advice and deliver fluoride varnish treatments to more than 165,000 children, strengthening their teeth and preventing tooth decay. Meanwhile, Family Hubs will provide advice and support for pregnant mums to improve their oral health and advise parents on protecting baby gums and milk teeth from decay.
The NHSE’s Long Term Workforce Plan will expand dental undergraduate training places by 40% to more than 1,100 by 2031/32. Recruitment will also focus on dental therapists and other dental care professionals, including a 40% increase of 500 more training places by 2031/32. It will also be made easier for NHS practices to recruit dentists from overseas by reducing bureaucracy and increasing exam capacity for overseas qualified dentists.
Speaking after the publication of the Dental Recovery Plan, Mr Mangnall commented:
“I am very well aware of the sheer frustration that so many are feeling from being unable to find an NHS dentist in the South Hams. Having called for the publication of the Dental Recovery Plan for many months, I am therefore pleased to read how the Government will ensure residents’ access to dentistry is improved.
In recent months, I have spoken to many local residents, dental professionals and representatives of the Peninsula Dental School to come up with possible solutions to the current issues, and am pleased to find that some of the measures I suggested have been included in the plan.
These plans provide the method to reduce the dentistry back log, alleviate pain and provide a reliable dental service. I will be working with the integrated care board and the NHS to make sure we have the proper provision across all of South Devon.”
Read the NHS Dental Recovery Plan in full here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/our-plan-to-recover-and-refo…