No dentist in Fife taking on NHS patients

No dentist in Fife is taking on NHS patients.

People in the Kingdom often being left with no option but to go private and pay a certain amount a month, at a time when budgets are already tight.

If they do not want to pay there's lengthy waiting lists at only a handful of practices.

Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Claire Baker says the service is at crisis point.

She said: "The SNP pledged to deliver free dental treatment for all, but now people in Fife cannot even get access to an NHS practice. Patients are being pushed into private practice just so they can see a dentist and it is unacceptable.

 "For those lucky enough to still have an NHS dentist, prices for patients have increased while the frequency of check-ups has fallen. Scottish dentists called for a patient-centred and prevention focused model, but the Scottish Government has failed to listen and the result is more expensive treatment and a crisis in provision.

 "The Scottish Government needs to act now to address this and prevent NHS dental care from further deteriorating."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We introduced major NHS dental payment reform on 1 November 2023 which includes a new fee structure designed to make it more attractive for dentists to provide NHS services and has been generally well received by NHS dentists.

“We work closely with NHS Boards, to ensure they have the necessary support to offer continuity of NHS care, such as the NHS Fife Dental Advice line which contacts practices fortnightly to better understand which practices are registering new NHS patients. Scottish Dental Access Initiative Grants are also available to help open or expand NHS dental practices.

“It is incorrect to suggest the frequency of check-ups has reduced. Dentists are free to use their clinical discretion to see patients as often as they like based on their oral health, in line with NICE guidelines. All patients will also continue to receive free NHS dental examinations in Scotland, the only part of the UK, and patients who previously qualified for free NHS care will continue to do so from 1 November 2023. 

“By setting a fairer fee for dentists, we are seeking to protect provision of treatment for NHS patients and attract more dentists, while ensuring that costs remain significantly below the prices charged by private providers.”

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