I welcome yesterday’s announcement that not only will dental charges be removed for care-experienced young people, as set out in the Scottish National Party manifesto, but the policy has been extended to all 16 to 25-year-olds. Can the First Minister tell us how that will benefit young people and what plans she has for the expansion?
This is a really important commitment. Having committed to removing dental charges, our first step in doing that was to remove them for care-experienced young people under the age of 26. When we considered that, we decided that our first step should be removing charges for all young people under the age of 26. That was an important step and I am delighted that we could announce it this week. Approximately 600,000 people will benefit from that commitment.
As I said, our plans are to remove dental charges completely, because for some people they can be a barrier to getting the treatment that they need. For some people, that can lead to them needing emergency treatment. Removing that barrier helps individuals and helps the national health service make sure that people get the treatment that they need as early as possible, in the setting that is most appropriate for them.