Without reform ‘NHS dentistry will go from crisis to collapse’

08 February, 2023 / infocus
 Will Peakin  

Following today’s debate in the Scottish Parliament, the British Dental Association (BDA) has urged the Scottish Government to deliver meaningful reform to NHS dentistry by the autumn – saying that failure to do so will take the service “from crisis to collapse”.

Yesterday, Ministers announced a that ‘bridging payment’ which uprated NHS fees by 1.1, but was due to lapse on 1 April, would continue to October 2023.

“With spiralling costs BDA Scotland has continued to stress that the traditional high volume/low margin model NHS dentistry works to was now unsustainable and removing the payment would push practices to bankruptcy or into the private sector,” it said in a statement. 

Despite needed progress on this extension, BDA Scotland warned that a “new sustainable model” must be in place by 31 October, otherwise the extension will “only delay the inevitable”. Practices are already facing the risk of providing care that involves laboratory work – like dentures – at a loss, it said.

NHS dentistry in Scotland has not returned to anything resembling business as usual, said BDA Scotland. Recent data has indicated claims submitted by NHS dentists for dental work are 43 per cent down on 2019 levels and suggest a growing exodus from the NHS workforce.

David McColl, Chair of the BDA’s Scottish Dental Practice Committee, said: “There was little need for a debate on whether NHS dentistry in Scotland is in crisis. On access, on workforce, on inequalities, wherever data exists it points to a service on the brink.

“The Scottish Government made the right call by not prematurely pulling the plug on vital support.

“The question is now whether, come October, we’ll have the reforms needed to give this service a future. Failure to do so will take us from crisis to collapse.” 

Categories: News


  • Noran Hegazy says:

    I’m writing to draw your attention to a pressing issue that has been affecting aspiring LDS part 1 exam candidates that’s being held by the royal college of surgeons. Our survey of dentists has revealed that the current booking process through RCSEng has been fraught with challenges ,causing significant personal and professional disruptions for candidates .
    It’s deeply concerning that despite years of studying and dedication to the dental profession, many aspiring candidates are facing hardships and injustice in the booking process.
    We’re simply seeking a fair opportunity to sit the exam that we have worked hard to prepare for, and which comes at a considerable cost .
    In this way we would have opportunity to seat for the exam ,work as a dentist and ease the collapse.
    Sincerely ,
    Aspiring candidates of licensing exam

  • Aparna Puthiya Veettil says:

    Ironically, the statutory organisation regulating Dentistry is so mean to the overseas Dentists. Had it been related to setting up high standards for passing the licensing exam, it could have been justified. On February 23 this year, Royal College Of Surgeons Opened exam slots for LDS part 1 which is only held once. The application was claimed to be on a ‘ first come first serve basis’. However, in the opening hours itself they breached everything. The webpage showing up messages of server being down. Despite these problems, some managed to make their payment, but some of them were not sent the instant confirmatory mail stating that application has been accepted. While enquiry was made on phone and email they assured the candidates that payment itself is an indication of application being accepted, and those candidates’ whose money was taken will be given a confirmation later on. They even tweeted the same assuring the candidates and making them believe that they are the prospective candidates for the exams held in May. Ultimately, they rejected those candidates whose payment was taken without an instant email. They justified it by the server error. Also are acting as if they are not all accountable for that.I am one amongst them, and this has been a searing issue since then to all of us. I lost my trust in the system. In this modern era where technology is so advanced , I can hardly believe all these rubbish.

Scottish Dental magazine