Prime minister Rishi Sunak visited a practice following the announcement of the new dental recovery plan – but it is unable to take on new adult NHS patients, it has been revealed.
The Prime Minister met staff and patients at Gentle Dental in Newquay. He said that ‘it hasn’t been easy enough for people to access NHS dentistry over the past couple of years’ but claimed ‘the announcements this week will make a significant difference, and quickly’.
He added: ‘It’s a very significant new investment in dentistry so that everyone can get the access that they need.’
However, it has emerged that the practice has closed its books to new patients over the age of 18.
The NHS dental recovery plan was released yesterday (7 February), detailing new measures to tackle the current NHS dental crisis including:
- NHS dentists will be given a ‘new patient’ payment of between £15 to £50 (depending on treatment need). This will apply to around a million new patients who have not seen an NHS dentist in two years or more
- Around 240 dentists will be offered one-off payments of up to £20,000 for working in under-served areas for up to three years
- A new ‘Smile for Life’ initiative. This will offer advice to parents and parents-to-be on the right care for baby gums and milk teeth
- The minimum value of NHS activity increasing to £28 (from £23).
The British Dental Association (BDA) slammed the plan, dubbing it ‘unworthy of the title’.
BDA chair Eddie Crouch said: ‘Rishi Sunak is seeing what life is like for millions across this country. The difference is he has options.
‘The PM won’t have to queue around the block to get an appointment. He won’t face travelling hundreds of miles for care. He’ll never find himself reaching for a set of pliers.
‘The paucity of the government’s plan means many patients will keep facing these horrific choices.’
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