NHS dental work drops by 25% from pre-pandemic levels

20 Feb 2024
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP

Speaking ahead of his party’s debate tomorrow on the crisis in NHS dentistry, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today warned of the challenges facing both patients and dentists as new figures revealed that the number of examinations paid for on the NHS has fallen by as much as 25% from pre-pandemic levels.

New statistics published today by Public Health Scotland reveal that there has been a 25% drop in the number of NHS dental examinations paid between December 2023 and December 2019 (195,276 exams to 147,012 exams).  

On Wednesday 21st February, Scottish Liberal Democrats will lead a debate in the Scottish Parliament noting the Scottish Government’s failure to repair the NHS dentistry crisis.

The party will raise concerns around the number of children and adults who have not seen a dentist in years, and will call on SNP ministers to prioritise workforce planning and boost the number of dentists taking on NHS patients.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:

“Under this SNP government, we could see NHS dentistry vanish from Scotland.

“The Scottish Government has done next to nothing to help NHS dentistry recover from the pandemic. They are leaving both dentists and patients in the lurch.  

“From DIY dentistry with tools purchased on Amazon to travelling hundreds of miles to get treatment, people are resorting to drastic and barbaric options.

“I want the government to do the right thing and back our motion tomorrow. This would see ministers rewrite their failed NHS Recovery Plan, prioritise workforce planning and boost the number of dentists taking on NHS patients.”