Government publishes plans for reform of NHS dentistry

The Department of Health & Social Care and NHS England have published a plan for the reform of NHS dentistry, including changes to funding and a public health campaign focusing on prevention.

Key features of the plan, titled Faster, simpler and fairer: our plan to recover and reform NHS dentistry, include:

  1. Expansion of access to dental treatment. The plan includes funding for over 1.5 million additional NHS dentistry treatments, or 2.5 million NHS dentistry appointments.
  2. Launch of ‘Smile for Life’ – a campaign with a focus on prevention and oral health in young children, to be delivered via nurseries and other settings providing Start for Life services.
  3. Deploying mobile dental vans into areas without NHS dental practices.
  4. One-off ‘golden hello’ payments of £20,000 to attract around 240 dentists to work in high demand, under-served areas for up to three years.
  5. Introduction of new patient payments of either £50 or £15 depending on treatment need – to launch in March 2024 and ending in March 2025.
  6. An increase in the minimum UDA value, from £23 to £28.
  7. Visits by dental teams to state primary schools in under-served areas, including provision of fluoride varnish treatment and advice.
  8. Expansion of water fluoridation across the north east.
  9. Development of further recommendations for dental contract reform – options would be subject to consultation and intended to be phased in from 2025 onwards.
  10. Commitment to a consultation on mandating NHS service for dentistry graduates.

As well as the specific measures that have been announced, the plan also includes several commitments to future review and consultation. The BDIA will continue to liaise with the Department of Health & Social Care, NHS England, Chief Dental Officers and other stakeholders as these measures are progressed.

The full plan and details of all the announced changes can be accessed below.

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