NHS dental work still below pre-pandemic levels 

By Lucy Ashton

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader and health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today claimed that the SNP have “done next to nothing” to revitalise NHS dentistry.

New figures show that both the number of examinations and the total number of claims made by dentists for conducting NHS work are still below pre-pandemic levels.

New dental statistics published today by Public Health Scotland reveal that:

  • There has been a 26% drop in dental claims paid between the quarter ending June 2023 and the quarter ending June 2019 (from 1,386,425 to  1,025,251).
  • There has been a 5% drop in the number of NHS dental examinations paid between the quarter ending June 2023 and the quarter ending June 2019 (829,911 to 782,783).

Dental claims are submitted by NHS dentists for activity monitoring or to claim payment for treatments and associated fees, such as issuing a prescription or orthodontic interim payments.

Mr Cole-Hamilton, right,  said: “The Scottish Government has done next to nothing to help NHS dentistry recover from the pandemic.

“Up and down the country, people are still struggling to see an NHS dentist. As my party previously revealed, a staggering 1 in 5 of those unable to get a dental appointment are doing dental work on themselves.

“Dentists and patients are being taken for granted, with ministerial disinterest and lack of government action causing near insurmountable problems within our NHS.

“Michael Matheson needs to urgently produce a new NHS Recovery Plan, making sure that dentists are properly recognised, and reform the funding structures to enable everyone to be seen.”

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