North East to receive major funding boost to dental services

The NHS will provide patients with hundreds of thousands more dental appointments, thanks to a £50 million funding injection across England.

By Joshua Wright
Wednesday, 26th January 2022, 1:34 pm
NHS England has announced 350,000 extra dentist appointments to tackle the backlog caused by Covid.
NHS England has announced 350,000 extra dentist appointments to tackle the backlog caused by Covid.

Of the £50 million, the North East and Yorkshire will receive £8,633,000

Funding will secure up to 350,000 additional dental appointments which will allow people suffering from oral pain, disease, and infection to get the care they need, as services drive back to pre-pandemic levels.

Children, people with learning disabilities, autism, or severe mental health problems, will be prioritised as part of a dentistry treatment blitz over the coming months, with the one off funding available until the end of the financial year.

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Locally, NHS teams will use the funds to secure increase care capacity amongst local dentists already operating to help patients suffering from oral ill-health.

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.

Sara Hurley, chief dental officer for England, said: “More than 600 urgent dental health hubs were rapidly ramped up during the pandemic to deliver urgent care for patients, and the NHS is now getting key services like dentistry back to pre-pandemic levels – injecting an extra £50 million into routine services will help provide check-ups and treatment for hundreds and thousands of people.”

During the pandemic, the NHS has protected dentists’ income when strict infection prevention control guidance meant dentists needed to operate at severely reduced capacity.

Infection prevention control measures were significantly eased in November 2021 and since the start of this year the NHS has required dental practices to operate at 85% of their pre-pandemic contracted activity, the latest stage in the return to pre-pandemic workloads for NHS dentists.

Maria Caulfield, minister for primary care, said: “Access to NHS dentistry has been given a much needed boost with an extra £50 million announced for NHS dental care services which will urgently give more people access to vital dental care when they need it.“Through the pandemic, we have prioritised urgent dental needs, vulnerable patients and free treatment for children and thanks to the hard work of staff, the delivery of urgent care is back to pre-pandemic levels. We are now working with the dental sector to recover and reform services.”