National Dental Recovery Plan – impact for dental services in Somerset

NHS Somerset (also known as Somerset Integrated Care Board) welcomes the announcement of the NHS Dental Recovery Plan and the approach outlined to improve oral health and access to NHS dental services across England. We are confident that a renewed focus on NHS Dental Services throughout England will support our work to restore and enhance dental services across Somerset.

As in many other parts of the country, people living in Somerset find accessing NHS dental services extremely challenging, with the current capacity for NHS dental appointments in Somerset being outweighed by the demand. NHS Somerset fully recognises that this falls below the standard that you expect and deserve from your NHS.

Since the responsibility for the commissioning of NHS dental services was delegated to ICBs (Integrated Care Boards) on 1st April 2023, NHS Somerset has been committed to supporting initiatives aimed at restoring and enhancing access to NHS Dentistry and improving oral health.

We are encouraged that the aims of the NHS Dental Recovery Plan align with the key priorities identified by NHS Somerset to improve oral health and access to NHS dental services. The Plan’s emphasis on increasing capacity, improving access and addressing oral health inequalities are key to achieving our goals for promoting equitable access to high-quality dental care for our communities. Its focus on developing a robust dental workforce is crucial for those goals to be achieved and for the sustainability of service provision for years to come.

Our role as your Integrated Care Board is to coordinate a collaborative response, working alongside other NHS organisations, Somerset Council and our wider stakeholders to ensure a robust implementation of the plan, whilst continuing to seek opportunities to enhance the model of service delivery wherever possible.

Whilst we await further detailed information, we will use the time to consider the NHS Dental Recovery Plan and review how this informs and augments our own objectives.

NHS Somerset is determined to resolve the challenges you face in accessing dental care and ensure that you and your families can get the right care when you need it.

For more information see our stakeholder briefing.