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Concerns over 'enormous' backlog for NHS dentistry

Scotland's dental leaders say the backlog for patients getting NHS treatment is "enormous".

Official data shows people in more affluent areas of Scotland were much more likely to be seen by a dentist in the last two years compared to poorer communities.

Meanwhile, patients on long waiting lists are resorting to costly private treatment in order to be seen sooner.

The Scottish government said it was committed to tackling the pandemic-related backlog in routine dental care.

The shutdown of dental services in the early days of Covid, and then severe restrictions on working practices meant emergency care was prioritised in Scotland.

Denise Hesketh is one of thousands of Scots who couldn't see a dentist during the start of the pandemic.

The 58-year-old from Edinburgh has battled dental problems for years, but being unable to see a dentist during Covid meant her oral health has taken a turn for the worse.

She told BBC Scotland: "It was over a year before I was able to see a dentist and by then it just got too bad. Everything was unstable. It needn't have happened - it could have been repaired."

She now faces a bill of £20,000 for private care, with her NHS dentist unable to offer any help.

Some patients have raised fears that those who pay for private dental treatment are being prioritised.

BBC Scotland has seen an email to patients from one practice in Lanarkshire. It states "Due to NHS restrictions and waiting lists on routine care… there are other options for check-ups for adults and children to pay privately".

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Source: BBC News, 16 February 2022


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