Dentists back Holyrood putting ‘DIY dentistry’ under the spotlight

BDA Scotland welcomes debate in Scottish Parliament on the challenges facing NHS dentistry

21 February, 2024 / infocus
 Will Peakin  

The Scottish Government has been accused of the “excruciating neglect” of dentistry.

Willie Rennie, the Liberal Democrat MSP, who made the accusation and who will be leading a debate in Parliament today, said he knew of people who have travelled to India for dental care and others who have performed ‘DIY dentistry’ with tools purchased from Amazon.

The British Dental Association’s own recent surveys found that 83 per cent of dentist respondents in Scotland had seen patients who had performed some form of DIY dentistry since lockdown.

The crisis in this service has seen desperate patients take matters into their own hands

Charlotte Waite

Reforms to the “discredited small margin/high volume system” that NHS dentists work to were rolled out last November. “This system has been in crisis for a generation but proved undeliverable during the pandemic,” said the BDA in a statement. “Facing soaring costs, some practices were left delivering some NHS treatments at a financial loss.”

The BDA had been seeking a decisive break from this system, and a move to a patient-centred, prevention-focused model of care. “The Scottish Government refused to break with the overall framework,” said the statement. “The BDA stress that this must be the beginning, not the end of the road for reform, and that access, outcomes and inequalities need to be closely monitored.”

Charlotte Waite, Director of British Dental Association Scotland, said: “The crisis in this service has seen desperate patients take matters into their own hands, or head overseas for care that should be available in their own communities. The Scottish Government unveiled some reforms back in November. Time will tell if it’s enough to turn the tide, so those who want and need NHS care can secure it.”

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