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Over the last 18 months we have spent £100 million on modernising national health service dentistry. £10 million of this was for the dental care development fund and the dentistry action plan fund to support local plans to improve access. This money enables health authorities to assist dentists seeking to set up new practices and to expand and modernise existing ones. Furthermore, the £35 million modernisation fund provided grants for dentists to improve facilities.
Additionally, the commitment payment scheme, introduced from April 1999, provides incentive payments to dentists, depending on how much NHS work they undertake. From April 2002, the scheme was extended to include dentists who have five years or more service in the NHS. Officials continue to work with the profession to see how the scheme might be strengthened in the future. The Department is also undertaking work with the profession and other stakeholders through the modernising project "Options for Change", to test out new methods of providing NHS dentistry.