NHS dental teams will receive increased fees under a new payment structure which will help them to provide enhanced NHS care and treatment.
Developed in partnership with the dental sector and as part of the Oral Health Improvement Plan, the reforms also include an additional £10 million from the Scottish Government to support the delivery of laboratory-based treatment items, such as dentures.
The updated system will drive greater consideration of patients’ specific oral health needs, with more focus on patient-centred care such as preventative periodontal – gum disease – treatment.
For dentists, it will streamline Item of Service payments by reducing the number of fees from over 700 to 45, cutting bureaucracy and giving them greater authority over the treatments offered.
While patients that are required to pay an NHS charge are likely to see an increase in costs, this will be dependent on an overall treatment plan. Around 40 per cent of patients will continue to receive free NHS care and treatment, as they did under the previous arrangements.
Jenni Minto, the public health minister, said, “This new NHS offer improves the system for both dental teams and patients and is the first step in the process to make the services available on the NHS reflect the changing oral health needs of the population. It also reaffirms our commitment to the sector and to all NHS patients in Scotland.
“We are confident that the modernised system, with increased clinical freedom for dentists, will provide longer-term sustainability to the sector and encourage dentists to continue to provide NHS care.
“All patients will continue to receive free NHS dental examinations, and I want to reassure those who are exempt from NHS dental charges – including children and young people under 26, and those on certain benefits – they will continue to receive free care and treatment. People on a low income are also eligible for support, details of which can be found on NHS Inform.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all NHS dental teams for their continued engagement and commitment to NHS dentistry. Increased costs for energy and the cost of living crisis still pose challenges for them, nn but we will continue to work together to ensure the best quality of care is available.”