Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today revealed health boards have reported “staggering” waits for dental treatment, including a patient reportedly waiting 243 weeks in Grampian, and called on the Health Secretary to take urgent action to get services back on track.
Responses to freedom of information requests by the Scottish Liberal Democrats have revealed that the longest outpatient waits in each health board last year were:
- 243 weeks for oral and maxillofacial surgery in Grampian
- 131 weeks in Tayside
- 51 weeks for restorative dentistry in Orkney
- 43 weeks for oral and maxillofacial treatment in Shetland
- 42 weeks for oral and maxillofacial treatment in NHS Borders.
And they revealed inpatient waits of up to
- 126 weeks for oral and maxillofacial treatment in Grampian
- 40 weeks for oral and maxillofacial treatment in both Forth Valley and Fife
- 39 weeks in Greater Glasgow & Clyde
- 38 weeks for oral surgery in NHS Borders
Alex Cole-Hamilton commented:
“These new figures have shed light on the staggeringly long waits some patients face for important dental treatment. In many cases such lengthy delays are seriously disrupting patients’ lives.
“Across Scotland, dental consultant vacancies are going unfilled and patients are left waiting. The most recent official figures confirm a “noticeable drop” in NHS dental staff, down almost 15% in the past five years.
“Liberal Democrats were instrumental in introducing free dental checks in Scotland and in pressing for a new dental school to address the shortage of dentists, particularly in remote and rural areas of Scotland. As a result, we’ve made progress as a country. However, as these new figures show, there are still glaring gaps in our dentistry services which urgently need addressed.
“The Health Secretary needs to take immediate action to get services back on track. For a start, she could publish the integrated workforce plan that staff were told would be out last year.”