Free NHS Dental Care for Young People

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600,000 to Benefit From Extension of Free Care

New measures to provide free NHS dental care for all young people aged 18 to 25 (inclusive) have been introduced at the Scottish Parliament.

Graeme welcomed the move as showing “the strength of the Scottish Government’s commitment to realising free dental care”, as it exceeds an original manifesto pledge to remove charges for care-experienced young people within its first 100 days.

Amendments to the regulations which cover the cost of NHS dental care will mean around 600,000 young people will benefit from free care from the end of August, subject to Parliamentary approval.

Commenting, Graeme said:

Capturing all 18 to 25 year-olds is important, as the Health Secretary has said, because oral health can suffer when young people first move out of the family home.

Of course, the economic impact of the pandemic has also hit young people disproportionately hard.

This move goes further than the SNP manifesto pledge to remove charges for care-experienced young people within the first 100 days of this government – indicative of the strength of the Scottish Government’s commitment to realising free dental care.

It is an important first step towards the abolition of all NHS dental charges over the course of this Parliament.

In a letter to dentists, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf acknowledged the current challenges NHS teams continue to face during the pandemic – communicating the Scottish Government’s continued emergency financial support.

£5 million of funding was recently announced to support improved ventilation in practices, as well as a 50% increase in free PPE to NHS dental teams. Financial support will be further discussed with the British Dental Association.

 

Background

At present patients pay 80% of the cost of their NHS dental treatment – up to a maximum of £384 per course of treatment – unless they belong to one of the existing groups entitled to free NHS dental treatment, or qualify for help with health costs through the NHS Low Income Scheme.

Patients currently exempt from paying a charge include adults in receipt of certain benefits, expectant mothers and those who have given birth in the last 12 months, and young people under 18 years of age.