Dentists to be paid £20,000 to take on NHS patients in plan to tackle 'dental deserts'

6 February 2024, 17:46

The government is set to pay dentists to take on NHS patients
The government is set to pay dentists to take on NHS patients. Picture: Alamy
Natasha Clark

By Natasha Clark

Dentists will be offered a £20,000 'golden hello' payment if they stay in the NHS for three years under plans to create more appointments.

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Leaked plans seen by LBC show that ministers will launch a full plan on Wednesday to generate one million more dentist appointments.

Millions are already in so called 'dental deserts' where there are no slots available for NHS patients.

Another £200 million will be dished out to encourage more to stay in the profession.

It comes after people in Bristol were seen queuing down the road after a new dental practice opened up in their area.

Read more: Police called after hundreds of people queue for six hours to try and register with an NHS dentist

Read more: Desperate patients rip out teeth with bare hands and resort to glueing replacements in NHS dentist crisis

Iain Dale caller had to wait 2.5 years to see a dentist

According to the plan, seen by LBC, new dental vans will also be driven around the country in coastal and rural areas to see patients who can't find a dentist.

The plan says: "Dentists will be offered a ‘bonus’ to take on more NHS patients, which will create more than 1.5 million new treatments.

"We’ll also be offering ‘golden hello’ cash incentives for dentists to come and work in areas that are under-served.

"This will allow around 1 million new patients access to NHS dental treatment, who may previously have been unable to access the dental care they need."

Caller has visited up to three hundred dentists in search of help

Responding to the leaked plan, Labour accused the Tories of stealing their ideas.

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting said: "After 14 years of Conservative neglect, patients are desperately queuing around the block to see a dentist, literally pulling their own teeth out, and tooth decay is the number one reason for 6–10-year-olds being admitted to hospital.

"The Conservatives are only promising to do something about it now there’s an election coming. By adopting Labour’s proposals for recruitment and supervised toothbrushing, they are finally admitting that they are out of ideas of their own.

"It will be left to the next Labour government to rescue NHS dentistry and get patients seen on time once again."