Scotland’s Parliament has introduced new measures to provide free dental care through the National Health Service (NHS) to all young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.
Amendments to the regulations that cover the cost of NHS dental care will mean approximately 600,000 young people will benefit from free dental care beginning around the end of August, subject to Parliamentary approval.
“The oral health of young people often suffers as they move out of the family home, away from the supervision of parents for the first time. I am also particularly mindful of the disproportionate economic impact of the pandemic on our young people,” said Health Secretary Humza Yousaf.
“That is why we now are going even further than our original commitment to remove dental charges for care-experienced young people within a hundred days of this government and widening this out to include all 18- to 25-year-olds,” Yousaf said.
“At the same time, I fully appreciate the challenges that NHS dental teams continue to face during this period. The situation is particularly hard on the dental sector, with added infection, prevention, and control measures making it impossible for dental teams to see the same numbers of patients as before the onset of the pandemic,” he continued.
“We currently have in place a set of emergency financial support measures to mitigate the worst financial impacts of the pandemic on NHS dental services, and we recently announced £5 million of funding to support improved ventilation to support improved ventilation in practices, as well as a 50% increase in free PPE to NHS dental teams,” he said.
“We will be discussing financial support with the British Dental Association,” Yousaf said.
Patients currently 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 the age of 18.