Karen Adam is now the MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast

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23 September 2003

Stevenson Raises Dentistry Provision In Parliamentary Debate

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament’s debate on ‘Improving Scotland’s Health’, local MSP Stewart Stevenson raised the issue of NHS dentistry provision with the Scottish Executive.

Mr Stevenson said:

“I will focus on dentistry, about which one or two members talked and in which I have a special interest. Manchester has one dentist for approximately every 1,000 people and Edinburgh has one for every 2,000, but rural north-east Scotland and the Highlands and Islands have one dentist for approximately every 4,000. That shortage means that lists for NHS patients are all but closed in the dental service. In some towns, even private dentists cannot take new patients.

“What does the Government know about the dental service? Does an NHS dental service exist at all?

“I have asked a series of parliamentary questions about the dental service. In question S2W-2355, I asked how much NHS dentists earn. The Government does not know. In question S2W-626, I asked how long people must wait to join a dentist's list. The Government does not know. In question S2W-625, I asked how many people are on a waiting list to join a dentist's list. The Government does not know. In question S2W-2356, I asked how many foreign dentists are working temporarily in the NHS. The Government does not know. In question S2W-2352, I asked how far patients must travel for NHS dental treatment. The Government does not know. The most astonishing answer is to question S2W-2353, which asked how many dentists are working in the NHS. The Government does not know.

“The golden hello scheme was designed to bring more dentists into the health service and pays up to £10,000 for three years in some circumstances. The scheme has been such a success that six golden hellos have been approved. One golden hello has been given in Forth Valley NHS Board's area, two have been given in Lothian NHS Board's area, and the initiative has also been used in the Greater Glasgow NHS Board and Dumfries and Galloway NHS Board areas. However, no golden hellos have been received in Grampian NHS Board's area or Highland NHS Board's area, where the greatest pressure is felt. Do national dental services exist?

“That situation affects not only dentistry. Scotland has 50 GP vacancies. Despite health board efforts and additional funding, will our remoter communities find themselves in a similar position in which we do not have the people to do the job and services cannot be delivered?

“Ministers should think about social conditions. People who are captured by tobacco or other drug addictions will continue to suffer at the hands of those who exploit their compelling needs. Alcohol abusers will continue to suffer and to inflict suffering on others.

“The Parliament has the power to empower patients and practitioners and to provide funds that can liberate our health service from the dead hand of overcontrol. Indeed, that is the consistent message that my colleagues and I constantly receive.

“Although we can get better on the money that has been provided, we can get more for that money if we moved a little bit away from PFI. However, we need a successful economy in a successful country before we can solve the deep-seated problems that underlie the health service and so much else in Scotland. That means being a normal, independent country.”

Stewart Stevenson
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However Google who publish for us, may do.
fiosZS is a name registered in Scotland for Stewart Stevenson

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