Mobile dentist comes to Cambridgeshire

11 March 2024

As part of the national ‘NHS Dental Recovery Plan’, a dental van will visit Cambridgeshire to help people get the dental care they need.

This country-wide ‘Recovery Plan’ will sit alongside our local action plan to improve access to NHS dentistry, for which Cambridge and Peterborough Integrated Care Board (ICB) secured £6.1m in funding.  

New ways of delivering care in rural and coastal areas will be rolled out, including by launching ‘dental vans’ – with at least one of these vans coming to Cambridgeshire.

Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, said, “Covid-19 has significantly impacted NHS dental care, and teams across the country are working hard to recover services and meet rising demand.

“Building on the reforms we have already implemented, the health service will now introduce a wide range of practical measures to help make it easier for people to see a dentist, from incentivising dentists to take on new patients to supporting dentists to be part of the NHS in areas where access is challenging.

“Recovering dentistry is a priority for the NHS, and this plan is a significant step towards transforming NHS dental services for the better.”

For the first time ever, a water fluoridation programme is set to be rolled out by the government, which could reduce the number of tooth extractions due to decay in the most deprived areas of the country. Subject to consultation, the programme would enable an additional 1.6m people to benefit from water fluoridation, first expanding across the North East.

Victoria Atkins, the health and social care secretary, said, “Dentistry is a priority for this government. I know from my experience representing a rural and coastal constituency in Lincolnshire how frustrating it is for people who cannot get a dentist appointment, especially after the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on dentistry. We have seen big improvements over the past year, but now we are going much further.

“I’m determined to deliver faster, simpler and fairer access to NHS dentistry for patients – and this plan will help anyone who has not been able to see a dentist in the past two years to do so.”

“The long-term decisions we are taking will help ensure that good oral health is available to all, wherever you live and whatever your background.”

Louise Ansari, Healthwatch England chief executive, said, “Across England, we have seen major access issues in NHS dentistry. The rising cost of living has had a real impact, with our latest data showing that one in five people have avoided going to the dentist because they can’t afford it. A year ago, this figure was one in ten.

“The dentistry recovery plan is a good start in addressing these serious problems. To widen access to NHS dentistry to those experiencing the greatest health inequalities, it’s vital dentists take up the new premium payments, promote availability of appointments to new patients and prioritise slots to people most in need.

“We also welcome the move to incentivise dentists to work in ‘dental deserts’ with golden hellos, to use dental vans in remote areas and to roll out more prevention schemes for children.

“However, in the long run more radical solutions are needed to get NHS dentistry back on track. We welcome the government’s commitment to consulting with the profession on the contract and urge this to happen as soon as possible.”