NEARLY 3,000 patients have seen their dentist for the first time in at least two years thanks to an NHS dental incentive scheme.
In February, NHS Derbyshire County were awarded £180,000 by the Department of Health to increase access for new dental patients into the NHS.
The result was a dental voucher scheme, supported by the Buxton Advertiser, where patients who had not seen a dentist for at least two years were offered a free dental check-up worth £17. The scheme ran throughout March.
Some patients taking advantage of the scheme only required a check-up, but a large number went on to have further treatment and are now ‘dentally fit’.
The incentive has also got thousands of people back in the habit of seeing a dentist regularly.
Keith Mann, head of primary care for NHS Derbyshire County, said: “We’re delighted that this scheme has been a resounding success, and it’s fantastic that dentists participating in this scheme saw nearly 3,000 people who would not normally have attended.
“Not only does this mean that thousands of people who haven’t seen a dentist in years are now back on track with their dental treatment, which may save them unnecessary pain and money in the long run, but it also means thousands have been given necessary follow-up treatment too.”
All patients involved in the voucher scheme were asked to take part in a short questionnaire about the barriers they found to accessing an NHS dentist, with 35 per cent saying it was because they thought they could not get to see an NHS dentist.
Other people said they did not realise they could now attend any practice that is taking on NHS patients.