NHS services with PPEJeane Freeman Health and Sport Secretary suggested NHS services should return to pre-pandemic levels.

Speaking at today’s COVID briefing, Ms Freeman said: ‘NHS services…should be as available now as they were before the pandemic started.’

BDA Scotland is seeking further clarification following her comments, suggesting it was a ‘slip of the tongue’.

‘Ministers seem to have forgotten that all dentists are operating at a fraction of their former capacity, to keep to strict infection protocols set by their government,’ David McColl, chair of the British Dental Association’s Scottish Dental Practice Committee, said.

‘With severe limits on access, emergency and urgent cases need to be at the front of the queue. Sadly, this slip of the tongue has now left phones ringing off the hook in practices across Scotland.’

NHS services levels

The BDA claims the Scottish government is only providing PPE to treat 10 patients per day (or five for AGPs).

This covers just 20-30% of pre-COVID patient numbers.

‘We are facing an unprecedented backlog. The Scottish government therefore needs to provide funding and support to restore routine services.

‘As it stands if check-ups recommenced today, we couldn’t offer appointments for six months.

‘Even before the pandemic Scotland’s oral health inequalities were a national scandal. Now that gap looks set to widen, with public health programmes suspended and millions unable to access care.

‘Dentists are losing the chance to act on the early signs of decay, gum disease and oral cancers. If we’re ever going to turn the page we need to see real commitment from government.’