Scots face long wait for hospital dental treatment
23 June 2019, 11:23 | Updated: 23 June 2019, 11:27
More than 1,000 patients have been left with "agonising" waits of more than 12 weeks for hospital dental treatment, according to new figures.
According to Scottish Parliament data, of the 5,064 people who were on the waiting list at the end of March, a total of 1,139 (22%) had been waiting more than 12 weeks for inpatient and day case dental treatment.
The Scottish Liberal Democrats, who requested the information, said the figure is an almost 10-fold increase in four years, up from 120 in March 2015.
Greater Glasgow and Clyde was the health board with the most patients waiting more than 12 weeks at 340, followed by Grampian on 263 and Highland on 191.
Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP said: "Liberal Democrats were instrumental in introducing free dental checks in Scotland and in pressing for a new dental school to address the shortage of dentists, particularly in remote and rural areas of Scotland.
"As a result, the country has made solid progress in improving dental health in recent years
"Unfortunately, these new figures show a rapid rise in the number of patients who are being left waiting in pain for serious treatment - in breach of the SNP's treatment time guarantee.
"With recent figures suggesting that hundreds of dentists have left the profession early, we need incisive action to ensure that no-one is left facing agonising long waits for treatment."
The Lib Dems found 221 out of the 239 dentists who retired between 2015 and 2018 did so before reaching their state pension age.