Published on: 17 May 2024

The NHS is encouraging local dental practices with the highest demand to hire new dentists using a new recruitment incentive scheme. 

Around 240 dentists will be offered bonus payments of up to £20,000 to work in under-served areas for up to three years, with NHS guidance issued to practices today to encourage them to advertise the “golden hello” scheme.

The initiative is part of the NHS and Government’s dental recovery plan, published in February 2024 with the goal of ensuring easier and quicker access to NHS dental care across the country and could see up to 1.5 million additional NHS dental treatments delivered for patients in the first 12 months.

The plan also set out new measures to encourage dental practices to treat patients who had not been seen by a dentist in two years, with contractors able to receive an additional payment of £15-50 (depending on the treatment needed).

The public can check on if their local dental practice is taking on new patients, with more practices signing up to treat patients who have not been seen within the last two years, thanks to the plan.

As part of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, the NHS is also boosting the number of dental training places by 40% by 2031/32.

Chief Dental Officer, Dr Jason Wong MBE said: “Thanks to our dental recovery plan to improve access to vital dental services, many practices are now taking on new patients and we will continue to work with the profession to encourage them to take advantage of our new incentive scheme.

“We are working to ensure that one and a half million additional dental treatments will be offered to patients over the next year with payments made to dental practices for taking on new patients and incentives for dentists to work in underserved areas”.

Health and Social Care Secretary Victoria Atkins said: “Our dental plan is already having an impact and it’s fantastic to see hundreds more practices signing up to treat new patients since we launched our new patient premium.

“And today we can confirm that our targeted recruitment scheme, which offers a ‘golden hello’ of £20,000 to dentists who agree to work in areas in need, is launching, with guidance going out to dental practices and dentists who may wish to apply for the scheme.

“I am committed to making access to dentistry faster, simpler and fairer for all those who need it – and these golden hellos will help ensure that patients can access good oral health, wherever they live”.