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Dental examinations increased 7% in early 2023

Dentists carried out more examinations in the first quarter of this year (PA)
Dentists carried out more examinations in the first quarter of this year (PA)

The number of dental examinations rose by 7% during the first quarter of 2023, but the figure remains below pre-pandemic levels.

Data from Public Health Scotland (PHS) shows there were 727,751 examinations by the end of March, up from 680,769 in the previous three months.

There were 872,753 examinations in the first quarter of 2019.

Dentists submitted 964,449 primary claims for work during the first quarter of 2023, an increase of 5%.

This figure stood at around 1.4 million pre-pandemic.

Charlotte Waite, director of the British Dental Association Scotland, commented on the figures.

She said: “Let’s not pretend NHS dentistry is returning to business as usual.

“A broken low margin and high-volume model is incapable of delivering care in a post-Covid world. It’s leaving practices delivering NHS care at a loss and will inevitably lead to closures or movement to the private sector.

“NHS dentistry’s survival requires rapid action from the Scottish Government, with meaningful reform and sustainable funding.”

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have accused ministers of neglecting NHS dentistry.

Party leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “The Scottish Government has abandoned NHS dentistry, leaving thousands of Scots in pain in the process.

“As if the chaos they’ve created wasn’t bad enough, they are now doubly distracting themselves with a special conference on separation, putting the issues that matter on the scrapheap.

“Deep problems in our NHS are festering because of ministerial disinterest and Government inaction, and Scots are paying the price.”