Future of NHS dentistry at risk after SNP fail to act

Future of NHS dentistry at risk after SNP fail to act

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The SNP are putting the future of NHS dentistry at risk by failing to provide funding and resources to help clear a massive backlog of appointments.

Scottish Conservative MSP Dr Sandesh Gulhane has warned that access to NHS dentist treatment is set to tank unless the Government takes immediate action to avert the brewing crisis.

Emergency Covid funding for dentists is currently set to come to an end at the start of April.

But the British Dental Association has warned that scrapping this vital funding would severely reduce patients’ access to NHS treatment – after finding that a vast majority of Scottish dentists already plan to cut back on NHS appointments.

A recent survey revealed that four out of five dentists plan to scale back their NHS commitments, while more than a third are ‘likely’ or ‘extremely likely’ to stop doing NHS work altogether if the emergency funding is cut.

That is why the Scottish Conservatives this week brought forward a vote in the Scottish Parliament, urging the Government to reverse its decision to withdraw emergency funding.

Dentist backlogs in Scotland have spiralled out of control during the pandemic. Almost half of registered Scottish patients have not seen an NHS dentist in two years – and this figure is even worse among those from deprived backgrounds.

This is a public health crisis waiting to happen.

The Scottish Government must urgently reverse funding cuts and agree a new, long-term funding deal for dentists to ensure every Scot can access regular NHS check-ups and dental treatment.

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Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP, said: “The Health Secretary must wake up to the scale of the crisis in NHS dentistry and take action immediately.

“An enormous backlog of appointments has built up during the pandemic and it’s our poorest communities who have suffered the most, which is unacceptable.

“We must clear this backlog and ensure patients can continue to get regular NHS check-ups and treatment in the future. That is why this funding issue must be resolved.

“We will continue to push for Humza Yousaf and the SNP to maintain emergency funding for dentists until a sustainable long-term funding deal can be agreed.”

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