- One in six children leaves primary school with rotten teeth, new data shows
Dentists will be sent to schools to treat children’s teeth and will be given bonuses for taking on new NHS patients under government plans.
Ministers hope to create 2.5 million more appointments across England over the next year to tackle the scourge of “dental deserts”, which has led to long queues outside surgeries.
Recently published official data reveals that one in six children leave primary school with rotten teeth and a quarter of adults have delayed dental treatment due to cost.
In a bid to end an epidemic of childhood tooth decay, mobile dental teams will administer fluoride varnish treatments, which help strengthen teeth and prevent them from rotting, to some 165,000 pupils attending schools in disadvantaged areas.
Meanwhile, daycare centers will teach children to consider brushing their teeth as part of their daily routine under the ‘Smile for Life’ program.
Dentists will be sent to schools to treat children’s teeth and will be given bonuses for taking on new NHS patients under government plans (Stock Photo)
Recently published official data revealed that one in six children leaves primary school with rotten teeth (File photo)
Dentists will receive a “new patient” payment of between £15 and £50 to offer checks to 1 million people who have not seen an NHS dentist for two or more years.
The amount of the payment will depend on the amount of treatment the patient needs and will be backed by an additional £200 million of government funding.
Up to 240 NHS dentists will also receive a £20,000 “golden hello” to work in underserved areas over three years.
New ways of delivering care in remote rural and coastal areas will be rolled out, including roving ‘dental vans’, while patients will be able to see available dental places on the NHS app.
And NHS work will become more attractive with the minimum wage paid to dentists for each “unit of activity” rising from £23 to £28.
The health service will create “a pipeline of new dentists” and other dental care professionals, including increasing dental training places by up to 40 per cent by 2031/32.
The government will consult on whether dentists should be required to work in the NHS for a fixed period after completing their training.
Up to 240 NHS dentists will also receive a £20,000 ‘golden hello’ for working in underserved areas over three years (File Photo)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hosts a cabinet meeting at 10 Downing Street on February 6, 2024.
Rishi Sunak said services are improving, with 23 per cent more treatments delivered last year compared to the previous year. But he admitted that “for many people, accessing a dentist is not as easy as it should be.”
The Prime Minister added: “That is why we are taking action today to increase the number of NHS dentists, help reduce waiting lists and put NHS dentistry on a long-term sustainable footing.”
Backed by £200 million, this new recovery plan will deliver millions more dental appointments on the NHS and provide easier and faster access to care for people across the country.
A report by health think tank Nuffield Trust warned in December that NHS dentistry is “gone for good” and said patients should be means-tested if they want to survive.
Chief executive Thea Stein said the new plan “will not be big enough to restore universal access to NHS dentistry”, adding: “Doing so would cost billions, so real honesty is needed about what what the public can and should expect from NHS Dentistry and when they will be expected to pay privately for care.
Shawn Charlwood, chair of the British Dental Association’s general dental practice committee, dismissed the plan as simply “rearranging the deckchairs”.