DENTAL practices in England are being given a £50 million funding boost in a bid to increase the number of appointments.
It is hoped the money will create an additional 350,000 dental appointments, with priority given to children, people with learning disabilities, autism or severe mental health problems.
Dentists involved in the scheme will be paid more than a third on top of their normal sessional fee for delivering this care outside of core hours, such as early morning and weekend work.
Chief Dental Officer for England Sara Hurley described the move as “unprecedented” and said it would help provide check-ups and treatment for hundreds of thousands of people.
The funding was welcomed by the College of General Dentistry. President Dr Abhi Pal said it would provide “short-term help to a significant number of people who have struggled to get their oral health needs met during the pandemic”.
But he called for action to address other issues affecting the profession.
He said: “It is important that longer term underfunding and recruitment problems are also addressed, and the NHS dental contract reformed, as even before the pandemic only half of adults in England were able to access NHS dental care.”