The government’s new NHS Long Term Plan commits a third of the £20 billion promised to GPs, community care and mental health and aims to save up to 500,000 lives over the next 10 years. Announcing the strategy, Prime Minister Theresa May said: “We are taking a big step to secure the future of the NHS for our children and their children. Delivered effectively, our Long Term Plan for the NHS will secure the health service for generations to come. This is a historic moment. Our vision is clear, our commitment assured, so let’s deliver the NHS of the future.”
However the plans does not mention any additional NHS dentistry funding. In response, Mick Armstrong, chair of the British Dental Association, said: “Warm words on prevention will ring hollow as the government fails to acknowledge the challenges facing 24,000 NHS dentists. The Prime Minister launched her strategy at a paediatric hospital, serving a city that spends £1 million a year extracting rotten teeth from children. We have faced year on year cuts and a recruitment and retention crisis. We have patients travelling over 50 miles to secure access to basic services. Now a single unfunded scheme is being offered as a substitute for proper resources and a coherent plan. If government intends to put the mouth back in the body they need to work with this profession. The alternative is to keep treating dentistry as an afterthought, and let the NHS pay the price.”
“Government’s Long Term NHS Plan omits dentistry“
Chris Hopson, CEO of NHS Providers, said: “This plan cannot deliver whilst NHS trusts still have 100,000 workforce vacancies. We need urgent action to solve what trust leaders currently describe as their biggest problem. It’s a major concern that we will have to wait longer to get the comprehensive plan needed.” Doctors have endorsed this thinking by saying they face a near impossible task to reach the ambitions outlined in the plan.