Health minister accused of ‘disrespect’ over NHS dental announcement
The British Dental Authority’s Scottish Dental Practice Committee (SDPC) has accused Joe Fitzpatrick, the Scottish Government’s health minister, of being “disrespectful” to the profession over his announcement on Monday of a return to the full range of NHS dental treatments from 1 November.
In a letter to the minister sent by email yesterday, the chair of the SDCP, David McColl, said: “The SDPC is disappointed that many dentists learned of yesterday’s announcement that they can soon provide a full range of NHS dental treatments from media sources such as STV news, or from patients who had seen the announcement online.
“Finding out about the return to the full Statement of Dental Remuneration (SDR) from the media or from patients, before the Chief Dental Officer issued his letter yesterday afternoon, was seen by the profession as disrespectful.
“Dentists and their teams are already under considerable pressure,
and have received numerous calls from patients about the expanded range of treatments following yesterday’s announcement. Managing patient expectations whilst ensuring patient and staff safety will potentially create intolerable anxiety and stress levels for some dental professionals.”
In the letter, copied to Tom Ferris, Scotland’s Chief Dental Officer, McColl continued: “We again urge the Scottish Government to improve its communication with dentists and provide us with regular and timely information, and to clearly explain major decisions that affect dental teams. This includes the rationale for extending the range of NHS treatments and reintroducing the previous funding model at a time when the virus transmission rate is increasing and further restrictions have been applied to other sectors.
“SDPC has not been involved in any negotiations with the CDO and his team on this return to the full range of services and the SDR has simply been imposed. We remain opposed to the introduction of the full SDR at this time and see this as a lost opportunity to pilot a new model of delivery for Phase 4.
“We understand that the Scottish Government will provide further details later this week on the expanded services and the support funding for dentists. We will comment further when we receive this information but our position is that if dentists are to go back to a full service then they must be funded at 100 per cent of pre-Covid levels, in a similar vein to General Medical Practitioners.”