Patients to get right to NHS dentistry

The right to NHS dentistry is among a package of promises in reforms proposed by health secretary Andy Burnham today (Tuesday 10 November).

The new scheme is designed to give a legal right to quick health care for those patients needing dental treatment, as well as rights to medical treatment and rights to die at home.

The government also outlined plans to give patients a legal right to private treatment.

Under the new plans, which would begin 1 April 2010, patients should receive treatment by a specialist within 18 weeks upon referral by their dentist or GP.

If the NHS is unable to treat a patient within the allocated period then staff will have to offer alternative ways of getting treatment, including private health care.

The Government believes the measures will empower patients and cut down on the postcode lottery, which sees patients in some parts of the country treated more quickly than others.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: Prime Minister Mr Brown said: ‘It is part of the move away from a target-led approach that was needed to raise standards and to give more power to patients and frontline staff.

‘But now frontline staff who are essential to deliver these reforms are able to be held to account by the general public with the guarantees.’

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