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Cuts to financial support risk sparking exodus from NHS

We have warned that cuts to vital support to NHS dentistry in Scotland risk sparking an exodus from the workforce.

In an open letter to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care we have slammed the Scottish Government’s decision to reduce the fee multiplier from 1.7 to 1.3 from July, and set out the case for urgent reform.

Scotland has already lost 5% of its NHS dentists since Covid struck and setting the multiplier at an unsustainable level is likely to hasten this flight from the NHS.

The profession was informed about this change at short notice and without consultation. The Government’s decision demonstrates a lack of understanding about how dental practices operate. We have again expressed concerns that reducing the multiplier will compel dentists to deliver some treatments at a financial loss.

"The Scottish Government has failed to understand we can't have NHS dentistry without NHS dentists," says SDPC Chair David McColl. "If they want to spark an exodus from the workforce, they are going about it just the right way.

“Ministers have already pulled away vital support and are yet to commit to needed reform of a broken system. In the last election Scotland was sold free NHS dentistry for all. Unless ministers think again, this will be a promise that simply can't be kept."

We have urged the Government to consider the views of a wide spectrum of dentists when discussing long-term contractual reform. We will update you when we receive a response.