Lib Dems back free dental check-ups for all

Every person in the UK should be offered a dental check-up on the NHS, the Liberal Democrats said today.

Delegates at the Lib Dem conference voted to extend access to NHS dental services, with an emphasis on preventative oral health.

Every patient should be guaranteed a minimum standard of service, the Lib Dems argued, and a Personal Dental Plan would tell them how frequently they need a check-up, as well as basic advice on how to look after their teeth.

Liberal Democrat health spokeswoman Sandra Gidley said: “Eight years after Labour promised that everyone would have access to an NHS dentist, the system is in crisis.

“Government reforms have failed to improve access to NHS dentists or raise the quality of dental care provided. Only a third of practices across England are taking on new NHS patients.

“The failure to improve access to NHS dentistry is yet another broken promise by this government, which has lost all credibility on health issues.”

The Lib Dem’s policy is targeted at ensuring patients in the greatest need, including children who already benefit from free treatments, receive regular check-ups from a dentist.

Ms Gidley continued: “Our proposals would guarantee a minimum standard of service for every patient, while giving dentists incentives to see those people in most need such as children and new patients.

“The government’s cavalier attitude to reforming NHS dentistry, ignoring patients and professionals, is sadly typical of their mismanagement of the NHS.”