Investments in NHS dental care in two areas of England look set to boost access.
Reports of an extra £2.8 million in NHS Norfolk dental services from next year and the opening of a new practice in Hampshire will big replied to patients in need.
Six areas in Norfolk have been identified for an increase in dental provision which will mean an increase in the number of available NHS dental appointments for the populations around Norwich, Acle, Cromer, Kings Lynn, Thetford and Wells.
NHS Norfolk directors approved plans which identify how the increased budget should be spent to improve access to dentistry in the county.
The primary care team which identified the areas of Norfolk where this additional money should be spent has also looked at bids from potential providers to see who they think is best placed to supply the new services.
As part of the tendering process, the primary care team received bids from potential providers explaining how they would roll out a new service in one of the specified areas if they were awarded the contract.
Elsewhere in Hampshire, a new practice is set to open in Winchester.
It could treat up to 9,500 people each year, says Hampshire Primary Care Trust, which is funding the scheme.
It is taking bids from dentists who want to run the service, which could open by March 2010.
Natalie Jones, lead commissioning manager of primary care dental services for NHS Hampshire, said treating more patients was a priority.
She said: ‘Since 2006, we have committed £15 million to do this and have prioritised areas across Hampshire on clinical need and current access.
‘As part of this ongoing assessment, Winchester and the surrounding rural area has been identified as one of a number of priority areas.’
Health bosses are yet to decide where to put the surgery, and patients will not be able to register until it opens.
It will be the first time since Hampshire PCT was formed in 2006 that a new NHS dentist has opened in the district.