NHS dentistry to be more accessible for Harborough residents, says MP
Plans to expand access to NHS dentistry have been welcomed by Harborough’s MP.
Former health minister Neil O’Brien was involved in creating the £200million plan, which is designed to allow more patients to access NHS dentistry.
But the plans have been criticised as not going far enough by dental leaders and Labour.
The British Dentistry Association said this is "rearranging the deckchairs".
The investment comes after the Harborough Mail revealed last year no dentists in Harborough district were taking on new NHS patients. Currently there is just one practice, in Desborough, taking on adult NHS patients.
The new plans will see dentists who set up a practice in areas with poor NHS coverage – like rural areas – receive a £20,000 bonus.
NHS dentists will also be given a payment of between £15 and £50 for taking on new patients.
Mr O'Brien says the plans will help deliver 1.5million more treatments over the next year.
He said: “I am delighted to see the NHS dentistry plan come into force, which I was heavily involved with delivering when I was a health minister. It will mean many more patients in Harborough, Oadby and Wigston will have access to NHS dentistry. One of the things I am contacted about most as an MP is access to dentistry, so this will make a real difference.
“The plans launched will deliver more treatments and incentivise dentists to see far more NHS patients, particularly in rural areas. Of course, there is always more to do, but this is a huge step forward and will deliver real change.
“I am pressing health ministers to go further and deliver a national funding formula and contract reform. But in the meantime, this plan will make dentistry more accessible to residents in Harborough, Oadby and Wigston, which is very welcome indeed.”
Other measures in the plan are set to include mobile dental teams visiting schools and offering lessons on how to brush teeth and providing fluoride varnish treatments to help prevent decay. There will also be mobile dental services for remote areas, and expand water fluoridation to new parts of the country to help prevent tooth decay.
Visit www.nhs.uk to find local NHS dentists.