The Scottish Liberal Democrats have vowed to embark on an international search in order to find 100 extra dentists for the country.
As part of their manifesto for this year’s elections, party leader Nicol Stephen MSP said the dentists would be recruited from other European countries to work for a minimum of five years. Scots currently practising dentistry abroad would also be encouraged to return.
‘Our strategy of recruiting new dentists from abroad, particularly the EU, and encouraging ex-pats who are qualified dentists to return would provide an immediate solution to the NHS dental crisis, with a rapid influx of skilled practitioners into the system,’ he said.
‘Scottish children have the highest rate of tooth decay in Europe, yet the NHS does not have enough dentists to treat them.’
It was also stated that the recruitment search would be ‘ethical’, and not at the expense of other countries suffering from low staff levels.
The lack of availability of NHS dentists in Scotland has become a common complaint among patients, especially in the country’s rural areas. Just over half of adults and a third of children are not registered with an NHS dentist, according to latest figures.