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Scottish Liberal Democrats Debate: Crisis in NHS Dentistry

Wednesday 21 February 2024 4:05 PM


Willie Rennie S6M-12215 That the Parliament believes that there is a crisis in NHS dentistry; considers that it is deeply concerning that people are finding it increasingly difficult to see an NHS dentist locally, if at all, and in some cases are resorting to DIY dentistry; notes concerns that changes to the payment system, which came into force on 1 November 2023, will do little to stop the exodus of NHS dentists; recalls that the Scottish Government committed in 2021 to abolishing all dentistry charges by the end of the current parliamentary session, but that charges for NHS patients have since increased substantially and been expanded to cover emergency appointments and denture repairs; believes that there must be decisive action to resolve this crisis, and calls, therefore, on the Scottish Government to rewrite the failing NHS Recovery Plan to prioritise workforce planning, boost the number of dentists taking on NHS patients and increase the number of appointments available. Neil Gray S6M-12215.2 As an amendment to motion S6M-12215 in the name of Willie Rennie (Crisis in NHS Dentistry), leave out from first "believes" to end and insert "recognises the significant challenges in dental services, compounded by the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, high inflation, and Brexit on public services, dentistry and the available dental workforce across the UK; welcomes that the Scottish Government has confirmed the sustainment and improvement of access to NHS dentistry as a strategic priority; acknowledges that payment reform, as introduced on 1 November 2023, is the most significant change to NHS dentistry since its inception and the most meaningful intervention to realise the Scottish Government’s ambition at this time; recognises that payment reform correctly prioritises public resources on securing access to NHS dentistry by incentivising delivery of NHS care through improved fees; is confident that the changes are the appropriate basis for further reforms to NHS dentistry, which will be focused on improvements in workforce and access to services across Scotland, and thanks NHS dentists and all staff working across Scotland for their continued commitment to the sector and provision of a vital service to the people of Scotland." Sandesh Gulhane S6M-12215.3 As an amendment to motion S6M-12215 in the name of Willie Rennie (Crisis in NHS Dentistry), after "resolve this crisis" insert "; notes with great concern that the number of people able to see an NHS dentist in Scotland fell by over a third in just one month in December 2023, as dental practices abandoned NHS work in droves; stresses that registration rates with dentists in no way indicate satisfactory dental service provision if registered patients are unable to get an appointment; regrets that the Scottish Government has failed to do what is necessary to restore NHS dentistry activity levels to at least pre-COVID-19-pandemic activity levels; expresses concern that people in rural and more deprived areas will likely suffer disproportionately negative oral health consequences from these failures". Paul Sweeney S6M-12215.1 As an amendment to motion S6M-12215 in the name of Willie Rennie (Crisis in NHS Dentistry), insert at end ", and recognises that the world-leading Childsmile programme, which was implemented by the last Scottish Labour Party-led administration in 2006, has been widely recognised as one of the most effective public health interventions of the devolved era and has transformed child dental health."

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