Dentists are to be offered £20,000 to set up practice in areas of England with little or no access to NHS dentistry, as part of the governments NHS Dental recovery plan.

As well as the one-off payment dentists will be offered higher payments for taking on new patients and teeth-cleaning in schools, to broaden treatment offered from the NHS. According to the government these plans will provide 2.5 million additional dental treatments for NHS patients.

The payment of £20,000 will only be available for up to 240 dentists, equating to 1% of practicing dentists.

The aim of this plan is to increase incentives for dentists to stay practicing within the NHS instead of deserting into the more financially lucrative private sector.

Anthony Mangnall MP for Totnes and South Devon said of the government’s plans: “I am very well aware of the sheer frustration that so many are feeling from being unable to find an NHS dentist in the South Hams. Having called for the publication of the Dental Recovery Plan for many months, I am therefore pleased to read how the Government will ensure residents’ access to dentistry is improved.

I have spoken to many residents, dental professionals, and representatives of the Peninsula Dental School to come up with possible solutions to the current issues and am pleased to find that some of the measures I suggested have been included in the plan.

These plans provide the method to reduce the dentistry back log, alleviate pain and provide a reliable dental service. I will be working with the integrated care board and the NHS to make sure we have the proper provision across all of South Devon.”

Caroline Voaden, Liberal Democrat candidate for South Devon, added: “The plan is a good start, but long-term, more radial proposals are needed to fix the crisis in NHS dentistry. It needs more than a year’s payment and a golden hello.

“I hope the government will consult with dentists now to find a long-term solution to the NHS payment plan.

“Liberal Democrats would also recognise the qualifications of EU trained dentists which was ended after Brexit, thereby opening up the workforce to thousands more highly trained dentists immediately.

“The plan comes too little too late for those left waiting in pain for dental care or the children admitted to hospital for tooth decay. With over 12 million waiting for help, this pledge to help just 1 million is a drop in the ocean and shows the Government isn’t serious.

“The Conservatives have overseen years of dental decay and now it’s people across the country who have been left to pay the price.”