Scottish Parliament told to tackle dentistry

The British Dental Association has challenged those standing for election to the Scottish Parliament on 3 May to solve the problems facing dentistry.

The recently launched BDA Scotland 2007 manifesto for dentistry has called for improved access to NHS services, increased funding for primary dental care and the introduction of a properly funded oral health assessment for individual patients.

It also calls on the administration to address the long-standing anomalies in the way that dentists’ commitment to the NHS is measured, and the creation of a ‘department of dental public health’ within the Executive Health Department, led by the as-yet-to-be-appointed chief dental officer.

Andrew Lamb, BDA Director for Scotland, said: ‘Since the introduction of the Scottish Executive’s Action Plan in March 2005, the number of patients able to access NHS dentistry in Scotland has decreased while the number of practices providing NHS care but deemed by the Executive not to be committed to the NHS has risen. On both counts, the Executive’s policy is failing to achieve its stated aims.

‘Those elected to the Scottish Parliament in May must look again at the problems facing dentists and patients in Scotland. If those elected are serious about tackling Scotland’s unenviable dental health record, they must work with dentists to secure an accessible and properly funded dental service.’

The manifesto also requests the introduction of targeted water fluoridation to tackle the significant inequalities that exist between those with the best and worst oral health records in Scotland. It also warns that the expense of complying with new requirements on the decontamination of dental instruments will require additional funding and resources.

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