An extra 1.12 million people have access to an NHS dentist since May 2010, according to new figures released by the NHS Information Centre today (Thursday).
This follows a funding boost of an extra £28 million and a call for dentists and primary care trusts to work more closely together to improve services for patients locally.
In May 2010, the government made a commitment to increase the number of people able to see a dentist on the NHS.
An extra one million people now have access to an NHS dentist – this significant achievement demonstrates the success of the government’s commitment to improving access to NHS dentistry.
Welcoming today’s figures, secretary of state, Andrew Lansley, said: ‘I am delighted that an extra one million people are now seeing dentists through the NHS. This just shows that NHS dentistry is becoming more accessible.
‘We want to make sure that this progress continues and that dentists give the highest standards of care as well as treating more patients. That is why we are testing new ways of working across the country. We will use the findings from these trials to help develop a new dental contract which will help to improve the quality of dental treatment patients receive.
To ensure progress continues and make sure that everyone who wants to see an NHS dentist is able to, the Department of Health said it invested an extra £28 million earlier this year through SHAs to expand local dental services in ways that best meet their patients’ needs.
To improve quality of care, the government is testing elements needed to develop a new dental contract, designed to increase access further and enable dentists to focus more on preventative care.
Pilots are currently running in 70 practices across the country and are testing elements like paying dentists for the results they achieve, rather than just the treatment they provided.
This means that dentists will be encouraged more and more to focus on patients as individuals with specific oral health issues rather than focusing on the number of courses of treatment they provide.