Skip to content

Action calls on dentistry crisis

Be the first to share!
By Fiona Reid
Action calls on dentistry crisis

‘SERIOUS concerns’ were raised at Holyrood yesterday about the future of dentistry in the South of Scotland.

It comes as many people locally are facing long waits for NHS appointments and treatments and say they are under pressure from their practices to go private.

In addition, the British Dental Association has warned that 80 per cent of NHS dentists estimate that they will reduce the level of NHS work they perform.

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth is very concerned about the situation and the switch to private care.

He raised the issue with the Health Secretary in the Scottish Parliament this week.

Speaking ahead of that, he said: “Covid restrictions understandably led to a big drop in the numbers of people seen by an NHS dentist but as restrictions ease, we’re still seeing huge waiting times for people trying to get an appointment with an NHS dentist.

“I am receiving an increasing number of complaints from constituents that they cannot receive a certain treatment on the NHS without an unbearable wait but they are being told that they can get the same treatment with no wait—often from the same dentist—if they go private.

“I have very serious concerns about what this means for the future of our dental service.”

He wants urgent action from the Scottish Government and added: “As it stands, there’s a shocking disparity between the treatment that can be provided on the NHS and privately, meaning that if you cannot afford to pay, you are often faced with a terrible wait, while those who can pay are seen with little delay.

“Dentists across south Scotland have huge backlogs from the past two years and the situation is becoming desperate for many people.

“If, as feared, we see an exodus of dentists then we will be back to previous problems we saw in the area where local people simply could not get dental treatment on the NHS.”