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Dental checkups to become less frequent in England and Wales

The decades-old routine of visiting an NHS dentist for a six-month checkup is being scrapped across England and Wales for most adults as part of changes designed to address the dire lack of access to dental care for many people.

Wales has announced that most adults now only need to see their dentist once a year, which the government in Cardiff says will free up NHS dentists’ time and allow them to take on more than 100,000 extra patients annually.

The Labour-controlled Welsh government also hinted it wanted to recruit disillusioned dentists from England by offering chances to develop skills such as carrying out more complex surgery within their practices.

Its announcement came after the UK government wrote to NHS dentists last week saying that under the first changes to the dental contract in 16 years, healthy people will only need a checkup every two years. It said this complied with guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice), which says dental teams should see patients for a checkup based on their health risk, which can be once every two years instead of every six months.

Both governments claimed the moves would allow more people to find NHS care but dentists’ representatives in England and Wales described the changes as “tinkering” and “marginal tweaks”.

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Source: The Guardian, 27 July 2022


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