Scots 'travelling to India for treatment' amid NHS dentist shortage

One constituent told the MSP that they had resorted to 'DIY dentistry' with tools purchased on Amazon.

Scots ‘travelling to India for treatment’ amid NHS dentist shortage STV News

Trouble accessing an NHS dentist in Scotland has seen Scots travel to countries like India for treatment, the Scottish Liberal Democrats have said.

MSP Willie Rennie has accused Scottish ministers of “excruciating neglect” as he claims more than 300 constituents have come forward about their concerns in a number of days.

He said one constituent said that they had resorted to “DIY dentistry” with tools purchased on Amazon after being on an NHS waiting list for four years.

Other respondents referenced travelling abroad, with one saying they now see a dentist in Goa, India and another travelling to Turkey for check-ups and treatment after their local practice closed.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats will lead a debate in Holyrood on Wednesday on the crisis in the dentistry sector.

Rennie said other respondents highlighted the expensive cost of private treatment, spending almost £400 on x-rays, two fillings and cleaning.

Ahead of the parliamentary debate, Rennie said: “These devastating stories expose the SNP’s excruciating neglect of NHS dentistry.

“No matter how much pain you are in, seeing a dentist in Scotland is harder than ever before.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for toothcare to be universally accessible, just like any kind of healthcare.”

He added: “If the SNP keep refusing to listen, NHS dentistry could vanish from Scotland.

“This time, I sincerely hope that the Government does the right thing and backs our motion which would see ministers rewrite their failed NHS recovery plan to prioritise workforce planning and boost the number of dentists taking on NHS patients.

“That is how we will enable everyone to be seen and guarantee comprehensive treatment at the point of need in every community.”

The Scottish Government has been asked for comment.

Charlotte Waite, director of British Dental Association Scotland, said: “The crisis in this service has seen desperate patients take matters into their own hands, or head overseas for care that should be available in their own communities.”

“The Scottish Government unveiled some reforms back in November. Time will tell if it’s enough to turn the tide, so those who want and need NHS care can secure it.”

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