No mention of dentistry in NHS Long Term Plan

The NHS claims its new Long Term Plan could help to save up to 500,000 lives over the next decade.

With additional funding announced, the NHS is making plans to make it fit for future generations.

The plan commits a third of the £20 billion promised to GPs, community care and mental health.

‘We are taking a big step to secure the future of the NHS for our children and their children,’ Prime Minister Theresa May said.

‘Delivered effectively, our Long Term Plan for the NHS will secure the health service for generations to come.

‘This is a historic moment.

‘Our vision is clear, our commitment assured, so let’s deliver the NHS of the future.’

Nothing for dentistry

No commitment has been made in the Long Term Plan for any additional NHS dentistry funding.

References are made to supporting the Starting Well initiative, with no new investments mentioned.

‘Warm words on prevention will ring hollow as the Government fails to acknowledge the challenges facing 24,000 NHS dentists,’ BDA chair, Mick Armstrong, said.

‘The Prime Minister launched her strategy at a paediatric hospital, serving a city that spends £1 million a year extracting rotten teeth from children.

‘We have faced year on year cuts.

‘A recruitment and retention crisis.

‘And have patients travelling over 50 miles to secure access to basic services.

‘Now a single unfunded scheme is being offered as a substitute for proper resources and a coherent plan.

‘If Government intends to put the mouth back in the body they need to work with this profession.

‘The alternative is to keep treating dentistry as an afterthought, and let the NHS pay the price.’

Staffing shortage

Critics of the plan point to NHS workforce issues, including a growing recruitment and retention crisis.

Doctors speaking to the BBC said hospitals are facing a ‘near impossible task’ to reach the ambitions outlined.

BDA surveys show 65% of dental practices in the UK faced recruitment issues in 2017.

‘This plan cannot deliver whilst NHS trusts still have 100,000 workforce vacancies,’ Chris Hopson, the chief executive of NHS Providers, said.

‘We need urgent action to solve what trust leaders currently describe as their biggest problem.

‘It’s a major concern that we will have to wait longer to get the comprehensive plan needed.’

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