By Lucy Ashton
The SNP has resorted to dangerous ‘goalpost shifting’ in a dire attempt to cover up the oral health crisis which is affecting people across Dumbarton, the Vale of Leven, Helensburgh and Lomond, Jackie Baillie has said.
Oral health in Scotland is in crisis with waits for dental surgery in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde region rising by more than 60 percent since 2019.
This has happened while, across Scotland, more than 850,000 fewer dental claims were made in the first half of this year compared to the same point in 2019. NHS24 calls about oral and dental health have also increased from 25,509 in 2018-2019 to a shocking 67,189 in 2022-2023.
But instead of taking action to tackle this crisis, the SNP government has decided to move the standard time between check-ups from six months to between 12 and 24 months.
This decision – which could lead to oral health issues going undetected for longer – is nothing more than a desperate attempt to shift the goalposts and massage the figures.
Jackie Baillie, right, has praised those dentists operating in the area providing NHS care and said that people in Dumbarton constituency deserve first-class dental care – not exercises in spin and decline from the SNP.
She said: “Dental services are deep in crisis with thousands going without care and those with the funds being pushed into the hands of private practice. During a cost of living crisis, people in Dumbarton, the Vale of Leven and Helensburgh and Lomond just cannot afford this.
“Faced with this crisis, the SNP has decided to shift the goalposts in a desperate attempt to massage the figures.
“All this will do is increase the risk of poor oral health in Scotland and increase health inequality. Within Dumbarton and the Vale of Leven, people are already suffering from poorer health than those in more affluent areas. This will have an adverse impact on them.
“By increasing the time between check-ups, all we will see is people presenting later and with more issues. This is on top of an already dangerous trend with an increasing number of people calling NHS24 with dental problems.
“It is vital that every effort is made to incentivise dental practices to take on more NHS patients – the agreement in place is simply not good enough.
“The people of Scotland need a fully functioning dental service that is accessible to all.
“The very existence of NHS dental treatment is on the line – it is time for action.”