Recent figures have revealed that nearly 50 per cent of registered patients have not seen an NHS dentist in the past two years, while oral health inequalities amongst children have widened to the worst level on record.
Even during this new phase of the pandemic, dentists are not able to get back to normal because of severe restrictions on working practices. Dentists have had to prioritise urgent treatment, with routine check-ups falling by the wayside thanks to severe restrictions on working practices.
As we come out of the pandemic, the SNP are not providing dentists with the certainty they need to operate effectively. It has been estimated that four in five dentists could reduce their NHS commitment, with A survey from the British Dental Association (BDA) revealing that 54% are ‘extremely likely’ to reduce their NHS commitment, while a further 25% were reported as ‘likely’ to reduce their commitment. 38% reported that they were either ‘extremely likely’ or ‘likely’ to change career or seek early retirement.
Given this, the Scottish Conservatives held a recent debate in the Scottish Parliament, calling on Humza Yousaf to agree a new funding deal to help dentists tackle the backlog. We are also calling on the SNP Government to guarantee that every Scot will be able to get a dental check-up this year and as clinically required thereafter.
Even before the pandemic, SNP were underfunding practices and letting down NHS patients with an approach described by senior dentists as ‘cheap and quick’. With many in the profession saying that they are forced to perform as many procedures as possible to make ends meet, Humza Yousaf needs to get a grip of the situation
and come forwards with a credible plan for the long term future of NHS dentistry in Scotland.