The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, has visited Gentle Dental, an NHS Dental Practice in Newquay, following the launch of the Government’s NHS Dental Recovery Plan, as part of its long-term plan to improve access to NHS dentistry.
Accompanied by local MP Steve Double, the Prime Minister met with dentists and patients and spoke about the work the Government is doing to improve access to NHS Dentist services.
Backed by £200 million of new Government funding, the NHS Dental Recovery 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.
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, Steve said:
“I was delighted to welcome the Prime Minister to Newquay today to discuss the work the Government is doing to improve access to NHS dental services in Cornwall.”
“Access to NHS dentist services continues to be one of the issues raised with me most often by local people and this is something I have spent considerable collecting evidence on and lobbying the Government for change.”
“I am pleased to see the Prime Minister has listened, and it was clear from his visit today that this is an area that he is passionate about. Just yesterday the Government launched the NHS Dental Recovery Plan, which will create 2.5 million more NHS dental appointments over the next year.”
“There is more to do and I will continue to push for further reform in order to ensure residents of Cornwall are able to access NHS dentists wherever they live.”
The Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, said:
“It was fantastic to join Steve today and meet staff and patients at Gentle Dental in Newquay.”
“NHS dentistry was hit hard by the pandemic and while services are improving - with 23% more treatments delivered last year compared to the previous year – we know that for too many people, accessing a dentist isn’t as easy as it should be.”
“I know Steve has been a tireless champion of this issue on behalf of his constituents, so it was great to discuss with him how our NHS Dental Recovery Plan will help the residents of St Austell and Newquay access the services they need.”
“Our plan will boost the number of NHS dentists, help cut waiting lists and put NHS dentistry on a sustainable footing for the long-term. Backed by £200 million, this new recovery plan will deliver millions more NHS dental appointments and provide easier and faster access to care for people right across the country.”