About 600,000 young Scots can now get dental care free of charge, the Scottish Government has announced, as ministers pledged more cash to help the sector recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Dentists are to receive a further £7.5m of funding, with the government cash allowing practices to buy new drills, which do not generate as much aerosol as standard drills, reducing the risks of spreading Covid-19.
The funding was announced at the same time as health secretary Humza Yousaf confirmed all those under the age of 26 are now eligible for free dental care.
Yousaf said: “We’re committed to scrapping NHS dental charges for everyone in Scotland, and removing them for everyone aged under 26 is our first step on that journey.
“Today’s announcement means around 600,000 young people aged under 26 will benefit from free dental care from August 24.”
With many dental practices forced to shut as coronavirus hit, and with restrictions imposed when they did reopen, the health secretary thanked the sector for its “outstanding efforts over the last challenging period”.
He told dentists: “I look forward to engaging with you further as the Scottish Government continues to support practice recovery and improved NHS dental services for patients.
“I am pleased to also confirm a further £7.5m investment for the sector. This will be used to purchase new dental drill equipment that produces less airborne particles, and therefore helps reduce the risk of Covid transmission.
“Alongside our previously announced £5m to improve ventilation, this will further enable dental practices to see more NHS patients under present Covid restrictions, and demonstrates our commitment to NHS dental services.
“I will continue to engage with the sector, as we look to remobilise our dental services in a way that is safe.”