25/11/2003

£15m earmarked for access to NHS dentistry

Around £15 million has been earmarked for NHS dentistry to provide easier access for patients, the government has announced today.

Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) will decide how the funds can best be targeted with their Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and it is planned that these allocations are made by 31 December this year. This funding comes in addition to £65.2 million announced in September – £35 million of this is also being used by PCTs to help tackle access problems.

Speaking at an NHS Modernisation Agency learning event for dental teams who are piloting new ways of working in preparation for the reform of NHS dentistry, Health Minister Rosie Winterton said: "Primary Care Trusts will be able to use these funds in a targeted way to tackle local dental priorities, for example, commissioning extra dental sessions for local people, developing new employment models to attract dentists and helping NHS dentists develop and expand practices."

Under the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003, PCTs will take over the funding and commissioning of local NHS dental services.

By April 2005, PCTs will take control of the £1.2 billion dental services budget from central government.

(gmcg)

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