Colin Smyth MSP
Colin Smyth MSP

South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has once again raised his concerns about the future of NHS dentistry in Dumfries and Galloway.

Earlier this week, NHS Dumfries and Galloway released a statement saying that challenges around NHS dental services in the region were likely to increase before they got better.

The statement added: “A fundamental issue is a shortage of dentists, and NHS Dumfries and Galloway continues to work with dental practices to support all their efforts to attract dentists to take up opportunities within Dumfries and Galloway. Again, however, this is a situation being experienced across the country as a whole.

“There is no immediate, easy means to address a situation being experienced not just in Dumfries and Galloway but nationally, and it is likely to worsen before it gets better.”

Colin Smyth, who has raised this issue many times in the Scottish Parliament, said: “Covid restrictions understandably led to a big drop in the numbers of people seen by an NHS dentist but as restrictions have eased, we’re still seeing huge waiting times for people trying to get an appointment with an NHS dentist.

“I am still receiving complaints from constituents that they cannot receive a certain treatment on the NHS without an unbearable wait but they are being told that they can get the same treatment with no wait—often from the same dentist—if they go private.

“I have very serious concerns about what this means for the future of our dental service.

“As it stands, there’s a shocking disparity between the treatment that can be provided on the NHS and privately, meaning that if you cannot afford to pay, you are often faced with a terrible wait, while those who can pay are seen with little delay.

“Dentists across south Scotland have huge backlogs from the past two years and the situation is becoming desperate for many people.

“The lack of dentists is a serious problem across the whole country. We need urgent action and I will continue to press the Scottish Government on this very important issue.”

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