scottish dentists treating patientScottish dentists are more likely to refuse treatment for NHS patients than in England, an investigation shows.

The Herald Scotland found that due to confusion over what treatments are available following lockdown, Scottish dentists are more likely to refuse NHS treatment.

Treatments are available privately however, with many practices looking to recoup the costs of PPE and lockdown.

‘There seems to be a bigger problem in Scotland, with dentists saying they are only treating patients if they are private,’ Professor Phil Taylor told the Herald.

‘I’m not sure about it, to be honest. It may be a cost thing, because it’s costing so much in PPE. The NHS fee isn’t covering this.

‘They can also pass on the cost of the PPE or upgrades to the practice to the private patient.

‘The cost of NHS dental treatment hasn’t changed very much since 1990.’

PPE fiasco

AGPs for urgent dental treatment resumed from 17 August after Nicola Sturgeon announced the next step in a phased return.

Despite this, dental practices are experiencing problems getting appropriate PPE.

NHS Scotland is issuing face masks almost a decade out of date. This is forcing BDA Scotland to come out and urge dentists not to use them until ministers provide evidence of safety.

‘They (both Scottish and UK governments) have not been very helpful about getting patients back into the system and this is happening in Scotland and England,’ Professor Taylor continues.

‘In the past a dentist might see 20 patients. Now they’re seeing between five and 10 per day. It’s the patient’s right to be able to get a check-up.

‘From a general practice point of view, the big issue is that the majority of dentists are in premises owned by the dentists themselves.

‘The problem with an area like that is the air circulation. In a practice, there has to be a lot more down time between patients. Some may not even have a window in their practice.’