In September 1999, we gave a commitment that, within two years, everyone would be able to access National Health Service dentistry if, and when, they wanted it via NHS Direct. All health authorities in England now have in place dentistry action plans to ensure that everyone in their local area can access NHS dentistry if they want it, within a reasonable time and distance. These plans identify shortfalls in service provision and ways of tackling user demand.
Action is being taken to improve the situation in Lincolnshire and Boston and Skegness. Lincolnshire is one of the third wave personal dental service pilots. The pilot will see the development of a dental access centre at six sites across the county, including Boston and Skegness, through a combination of new buildings and conversion of existing Community Dental Services. £877,000 capital and £340,000 revenue were allocated to the pilot in 2000–01 with a further £270,000 capital and £91,000 revenue in the current financial year.
In addition, Lincolnshire has received dental care development funding amounting to £95,000 in 2000–01 and £185,000 in 2001–02 for expansion and modernisation of practices in areas of poor access which are already offering significant NHS commitment and are prepared to increase numbers of NHS patients. A further allocation of £407,000 has been made from the dental modernisation fund to modernise premises and upgrade equipment and from the dental practice. £17,000 has been allocated from the dental practice grant to set up quality assurance systems in each dental practice.