Young people in Scotland under the age of 26 are now eligible for free NHS dental treatment, after the devolved administration allocated £7.5 million to support the dental sector and build back to pre-pandemic capacity.
Around 600,000 young Scots will now receive free dental care, health secretary Humza Yousaf said, adding this is the first step towards the Scottish government’s plans to scrap dental charges for everyone in Scotland.
The funding will be used to purchase new dental drill equipment that produces less airborne particles, and therefore helps reduce the risk of Covid transmission, he said.
No “opt-in” is required to avail this service and those who started a course of NHS treatment before their 26th birthday will also be eligible, the government stated on Tuesday (August 24).
Yousaf said: “I want to thank the dental sector for its outstanding efforts over the last challenging period and I look forward to engaging with you further as the Scottish Government continues to support practice recovery and improved NHS dental services for patients.
“Alongside our previously announced £5 million to improve ventilation, this will further enable dental practices to see more NHS patients under present Covid restrictions, and demonstrates our commitment to NHS dental services. I will continue to engage with the sector, as we look to remobilise our dental services in a way that is safe.”
The government’s initial plan was only to scrap NHS patient charges for care experienced young people within the first 100 days of its tenure.
However, it ramped the ambition to benefit young Scots with an additional investment of £7.5m, which will be used to purchase electric motors and speed increasing ‘red band’ hand pieces to be used in a wide range of clinical procedures.
Further details on how practices can apply for this additional funding will be made available in the next few weeks.