Covid Scotland: £5m pot for NHS dentists to restart services

Up to £5 million of Scottish Government funding has been made available to NHS dentists to help remobilise services as Scotland recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

The funding will help NHS dental practices to purchase, renew or upgrade ventilation equipment as improved ventilation in surgeries can substantially reduce the time between seeing patients, and offer dental teams the opportunity to see more patients safely.

The announcement comes as Scottish Labour MSP Sarah Boyack asked the First Minister what the Scottish Government was doing to tackle the reported backlog of NHS dental appointments for children and young people.

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The First Minister pointed towards the plans to re-start the Child Smile programme.

A 5 million pound pot is being launched to help dentists remobilise. Picture: PA
A 5 million pound pot is being launched to help dentists remobilise. Picture: PA

She said: “Obviously, we have a commitment for patients, including children and young people to receive NHS dental care and treatment as quickly as possible.

"We are supporting a range of measures to remobilise the NHS overall. Of course that includes dental services.

"So across the whole NHS, there is a significant challenge to tackle backlogs and getting the service back to normal. And that is the case in dental services as well.”

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Ms Boyack said she had written to the Scottish Government last week to ask about dentistry waiting times, but had been told that such data does not exist.

Announcing the new funding, health secretary Humza Yousaf said: “The remobilisation of the NHS is one of our number one priorities and the Scottish Government remains committed to ensuring that NHS dental services emerge from this pandemic well-placed to care for the oral health of the population.

“This new funding is an important step in ensuring the continued remobilisation of NHS dental services and to ensure more patients can be seen safely.

"We will also continue to fund free PPE for the dental sector and, from July, we will increase it by up to 50 per cent.”

He added: “We are continuing to work with the sector to provide much-needed support to fully remobilise dental services.”

The funding will be available throughout this financial year and will be distributed by NHS boards to those practices meeting the scheme’s conditions.

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