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Scottish Labour candidate puts spotlight on Scottish NHS dentistry during Inverness address

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Labour candidate in Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire Michael Perera with Anas Sarwar.
Labour candidate in Inverness, Skye and West Ross-shire Michael Perera with Anas Sarwar.

Scottish Labour Candidate Michael Perera has taken aim at the state of NHS dentistry in Scotland while speaking in Inverness today.

In an address to supporters, the Inverness, Skye & West Ross-shire candidate claimed that dental services were the source of “a really worrying level of discontent among many constituents”.

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Mr Perera said: “I have spoken to many people across the constituency and I have been frankly staggered by the catalogue of problems they face.

“We have a dentistry crisis. As in other areas of the NHS, the SNP has failed to maintain staffing levels, and services have declined.

“Many practices’ lists are closed. Children are not being registered. Patients are being left in pain for months on end waiting for essential dental surgery.

“And, as the trend continues towards acquisition and consolidation, fewer and fewer corporate groups now control many dental practices, further limiting patient options.

“I am particularly concerned that dental technician services are being outsourced – to China and elsewhere – delaying effective treatment.

“Then we have widening health inequalities: on the criterion of contact with a dentist in the last two years, the gap between the most and least deprived areas stands at 20 per cent. This is a record high, compared to just 3 per cent in 2008.

“There are heartbreaking cases, such as a single mother going without food to pay for dental care, and some patients travelling hundreds of miles for access – or even undertaking ‘DIY’ dentistry.

“As Scottish Labour health spokesperson Jackie Baillie says, this is a crisis situation. The SNP has failed to make the necessary contractual reforms which would encourage dentists to provide NHS dental services; and some are leaving the NHS completely.

“We in Scottish Labour believe in free and accessible NHS dental care. Oral health is in decay under the SNP.”


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