Over 150 dentists are to take part in a series of pilot schemes later this year which are designed to improve access to NHS dental services and improve levels of oral health.
The 15 pilot schemes will cover a number of initiatives across a wide range of issues affecting the delivery of dental services. These will include the introduction of drop-in services for patients who are not registered with an NHS dentist as well as the promotion of dental health initiatives.
The pilot schemes will also examine the options around flexibility in the way dentists are paid in a bid to increase the number of patients registered.
In areas where it can be hard to find an NHS dentist, there are plans to combine the Community Dental Service and Health Authority salaried dentists to offer greater access to dental services.
Due to launch in October this year, the pilot schemes are to share the £600,000 available as start-up funding.
Health Minister Alan Milburn said these latest schemes were part of the Government’s commitment to NHS dentistry: “I want to make sure that in every part of the country, NHS dentistry is no longer an afterthought or an add-on service.
“The new pilot schemes will improve access and provide better, more patient-focused services,” he added.