Vote Lib Dem to end soaring dentistry waits

2 Jul 2024
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton today used a campaign stop in Fife to reveal soaring waits for dental treatment and said that Liberal Democrats will make sure everyone can get fast access an NHS dentist.

His pledge comes as freedom of information requests submitted by Scottish Liberal Democrats reveal that for inpatient and day case dental treatments:

• The longest a patient treated in 2023 had to wait for was 212 weeks in NHS Grampian.

• In NHS Borders the average wait rose to 77 weeks.

• Only three health boards reported average waits of less than six months.

For outpatients:

• The longest a patient treated in 2023 had to wait was 128 weeks.

• At least five health boards recorded patients having to wait more than a year for dental treatment.

• The single longest wait in the last five years was an astonishing 342 weeks.

• In the Highlands, where the Liberal Democrats are locked in close electoral races with the SNP, patients have waited up to 69 weeks for treatment, while the average wait for orthodontics more than doubled between 2019 and 2022.

Commenting on the figures, Alex Cole-Hamilton said:

“The SNP have left NHS dentistry to rot and people are in pain. Right here in Fife there isn't a single NHS dentist currently open to new patients.

“Many are now resorting to drastic options, from DIY dentistry with tools purchased on Amazon to travelling back to war-torn Ukraine for treatment.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats have set out plans that would end dental deserts and bring back local NHS dentists. It would see ministers rewrite their failed NHS Recovery Plan, prioritise workforce planning and boost the number of dentists taking on NHS patients.

"A vote for the Scottish Liberal Democrats is a vote to save NHS dentistry. On Thursday, people in key seats like North East Fife, Mid Dunbartonshire, Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross and Inverness, Skye & West Ross-shire will have the chance to choose a Scottish Liberal Democrat champion who will stand up for local health services."

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