By Lucy Ashton

Labour has stated that NHS dentistry is in ‘chaos’ as the number of NHS24 calls related to oral and dental health soared in just five years.

It comes at a time when “Turkish teeth” are becoming more and more common as Scots travel abroad for dental treatment.

Figures obtained via FOI reveal that the number of NHS24 calls about oral and dental health increased from 25,509 in 2018-2019 to a shocking 67,189 in 2022-2023.

This comes as the British Dental Association gave a stark warning that NHS Dentistry in Scotland faces an ‘existential threat’ after analysis showed more than half of capacity has been lost compared to before the pandemic.

The BDA also stated that NHS dentistry in Scotland is at risk of going from “crisis to collapse” because of a mass workforce exodus and declining access to care.

With calls to NHS 24 soaring while thousands are still going without access to NHS dentistry, Scottish Labour is raising the alarm over the creation of a “two-tier dentistry service’ in Scotland

Labour has demanded urgent action to stave off this chaos and ensure patients are able to access the primary care they need instead of relying on emergency services.

Scottish Labour MSP Paul Sweeney, pictured left,  said: “The chaos engulfing our dental services is forcing NHS dentistry to the brink.

“Concerns about access to care and a collapsing workforce have fallen on deaf ears, but the Scottish government need to start taking these warnings seriously and properly tackle these issues.

“The SNP cannot continue to sit on their hands as this crisis worsens. Urgent action must be taken now to bring dentistry services back from the brink.”

 Call Reason Apr18-Mar19 Apr19-Mar20 Apr20-Mar21 Apr21-Mar22 Apr22-Mar23
Dentistry 25,509 29,737 43,180 65,090 67,189

Source: Scottish Labour FOI

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