Photo Credit: Darko Stojanovic / Pixabay

The British Dental Association Scotland has welcomed the coming debate in the Scottish Parliament on the challenges facing NHS dentistry.

Scottish Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie MSP, who is leading Wednesday’s debate, accuses the Scottish Government of “excruciating neglect”, revealing cases who have travelled to India for dental care and who have performed “DIY dentistry” with tools purchased from Amazon.

The BDA’s own recent surveys found 83% of dentist respondents in Scotland had treated patients that had performed some form of DIY dentistry since lockdown.
Some reforms to the discredited small margin/high volume system NHS dentists work to were rolled out in November 2023. This system has been in crisis for a generation but proved undeliverable during the pandemic. Facing soaring costs, some practices were left delivering some NHS treatments at a financial loss.

The BDA had been seeking a decisive break from this system, and a move to a patient-centred, prevention-focused model of care. The Scottish Government refused to break with the overall framework. The BDA stress that this must be the beginning, not the end of the road for reform, and that access, outcomes and inequalities need to be closely monitored.

Charlotte Waite, Director of British Dental Association Scotland said: “The crisis in this service has seen desperate patients take matters into their own hands, or head overseas for care that should be available in their own communities.”

“The Scottish Government unveiled some reforms back in November. Time will tell if it’s enough to turn the tide, so those who want and need NHS care can secure it.”

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