First Minister challenged on the state of NHS dentistry
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP today challenged the First Minister over forthcoming increases in charges for NHS dentistry.
From 1 November, a revised payment system for NHS dental treatment will see prices for patients increase.
An adult patient receiving a single surface filling will now pay £12.72, instead of the current £8.80. The cost to the patient of a single tooth extraction appointment will also increase from £14.76 to £28.84. The cost of a basic acrylic denture will increase from £70 to £117.
We are investing in our NHS dental services
Mr Cole-Hamilton also revealed that more than 136,000 calls have been made to emergency dental care lines by those unable to register with an NHS dentist.
Speaking during First Minister’s Questions, Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “Vast numbers of people are being forced to call emergency dental helplines because they can’t find an NHS dentist.
“An investigation I’m publishing today shows that happened almost 16,000 times last year in Fife alone. That’s hardly surprising given that there is just one Fife practice accepting new NHS patients.
“Across Scotland, people are desperate, some even resorting to DIY dentistry. The First Minister’s Recovery Plan promised to abolish NHS dentistry charges altogether.
“They’re not going away, next week they’re going up. Some will double. And what the Government didn’t tell you is that there are new charges for those emergency appointments and things like denture repairs. So, can I ask the First Minister, why are people paying more for less under the SNP?”
In response, Humza Yousaf said the pandemic had caused a “significant impact” on dentistry in Scotland. The First Minister said the Government had removed dental charges for those aged under 26.
He added: “In terms of growing the NHS dental workforce in Scotland, we have 55 dentists per 100,000 of the population. That’s compared to 43 per 100,000 in England. So, we are investing in our NHS dental services.”