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Dentists bast Nicola Sturgeon and warn Covid backlog could take years to clear

Dentists have warned it will take years to clear the Covid backlog – with routine appointments not being offered until 2022.

And they’ve accused the Scottish Government of failing to tell the public about the challenges they face.

It comes as patients complain about the long waits to see dentists for treatments like fillings.

The British Dental Association has warned the ongoing access crisis has also seen staff abused.

David McColl, of the BDA, said: “The backlog is extensive and is going to take years to sort.

“We are hearing messaging from the Scottish Government that things are back to normal and that’s just an illusion. We face the same challenges as GPs. Things just aren’t anywhere near normal.

“Our First Minister should be going on TV and radio and saying, ‘Things are not back to normal, be more kind’.

David McColl

“But she’s not and all we are getting is a lot of grief from patients who can’t understand why they can’t get an appointment for next week.

“We are treating around 40 per cent of who we did before and it’s going to take years to recover.

“We need understanding from patients because our frontline reception staff are getting abused.

“The Scottish Government think by putting it on their Twitter account that is effective messaging. Who on earth looks at that? Not a lot of people. We need more support from them.”

Last week it was revealed, that like dentists, GPs were seeing fewer than half the patients in person that they did before the pandemic.

Dr David Shackles, of the Royal College of General Practitioners, warned the rest were being diagnosed on the phone, email or by video call.

The BDA has warned over four million appointments have been lost since the first lockdown.

The body also criticised the cash given to dentists in a ventilation grant earlier this year.

Inability to get rid of Covid particles in the air is one of the main issues in dental practices opening up again.

Dentists bast Nicola Sturgeon and warn Covid backlog could take years to clear
Dr David Shackles

In June, Chief Dental Officer Tom Ferris announced funding of up to £5million.

But McColl, who runs an NHS clinic in Glasgow, said: “The money just doesn’t make a dent”.

Tory MSP Dr Sandesh Gulhane said: “I am deeply concerned about the growing backlogs for treatment”.

The Scottish Government said: “We have made it clear in all patient messaging that dental teams are unable to see the same numbers of patients as before the pandemic.

“However, we’re moving forward rapidly with NHS dental recovery and are supporting the sector to build back to a pre-pandemic level.”

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