A CASH bounty will be offered to dentists in an attempt to boost the number offering NHS services.
The move comes after figures revealed that over a third of adults in Worcestershire were unable to secure an appointment with an NHS dentist in the past two years.
The idea was welcomed by West Worcestershire MP, Harriett Baldwin.
She said: “I have had quite a few constituents who have passed on examples of where they have struggled to find a local NHS dentist and I am aware that in some places the cover has not returned to normal after the pandemic.
“I am pleased to hear that NHS England is taking a constructive approach to try and find more local dentists who are prepared to commit to an area and hope that we will see an increased level of provision soon.”
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Under the new scheme, dentists will be offered a £15,000 one-off payment to encourage them to commit to working in a location for up to five years.
Meanwhile, NHS England, which is responsible for dental service provision, has launched a recruitment campaign to increase the number of county dentists and encourage existing practices to take on more NHS patients.
A spokesperson for NHS in the Midlands said: “The latest data show dental access in Worcestershire to be higher than the national average; however we continue working to improve dental access in the county.
“Across Worcestershire, we want to recruit more dentists and dental staff for NHS services and have undertaken recruitment campaigns in dentistry schools and in the dental media to encourage more to the county.
“We have also run a Golden Hello scheme offering an incentive to become an NHS dentist.
“At this current time, work is underway to transform the NHS Dental contract nationally with the aim to ensure patients have access to services, improve oral healthcare and support the dental profession.”
The county’s Liberal Democrats launched a petition last month, demanding that more be done to make NHS dentistry “more attractive.”