Concern is growing in Orkney over the provision of dental services to National Health Service Users.
Everyone in Scotland is entitled to treatment by a NHS Dentist, however, what many are finding is that a NHS Dentist is becoming a rare if not quite extinct animal.
Recent figures proclaim NHS dental registrations in Scotland are up by 2 million in the last 10 years with 92% (4.9 million) of the Scottish population registered with a NHS dentist as at the end of September 2016.
In response to the figures Shona Robison, Cabinet Secretary for Health in the Scottish Government said:
“These new figures are very encouraging and show the great progress that has been made in the last 10 years. Availability of NHS dental services has improved substantially under this Government and we remain committed to ensuring that everybody who wants access to NHS dental services can receive it.
“Substantial investment by this Government, and the actions taken by NHS Boards, means that across Scotland 4.9 million people were registered for NHS dental services at September 2016 compared with 2.6 million at March 2007.”
“When you register with a dentist you’ll be registered for life, unless you or your dentist request your registration to be withdrawn.” NHS Inform
Here’s how it goes:
- New Dental Practice is set up
- People encouraged to register as NHS patients
- Treatment received and paid for (funding from Scottish Government to allay some of the costs to the patient)
- Client list built up
- Practice decides to provide private treatment only
- NHS patients removed or can remain as private clients
- NHS patients attempt to find another dentist
- No vacancies with NHS dentist (if you can find one)
The official statistics tell only one part of the story. It does not tie in with what people are actually experiencing in their local communities.
There is an ongoing crisis in the provision of dental services in Scotland which is not being addressed effectively by the Scottish Government.
To say that the National Health Service provides free treatment to all those who require it does not apply to the care of our teeth. The dental examination is the only part of the process that is free to most patients.
You can get free NHS dental treatment if, when the treatment starts, you are:
- aged under 18;
- aged 18 and in full-time education;
- pregnant or have borne a child within the 12 months before treatment starts;
- an NHS in-patient and the treatment is carried out by the hospital dentist;
- an NHS Hospital Dental Service out-patient
- a Community Dental Service patient.
Also when the treatment starts or when the charge is made:
- you are getting, or your partner gets:
Income Support, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance or Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (Incapacity Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance (Contributory) and Disability Living Allowance do not count as they are not income-related), or Pension Credit Guarantee Credit;
- you are entitled to, or named on, a valid NHS tax credit exemption certificate;
- you are named on a valid HC2 certificate issued under the terms of the NHS Low Income Scheme.
And for Veterans – due to your pensionable disablement.
First: Find a NHS Dentist with a vacancy!
Reporter: Fiona Grahame
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