Date Published: 28 September 2006
Salaried dentists making a difference in Scotland
New figures show a sharp rise in the amount of work being carried out by NHS salaried dentists in Scotland.
The number of appointments carried out by salaried dentists is up by more than 20% over the last year, and by nearly 70% on two years ago.
Today's Scottish Dental Practice Board Annual Report also shows in the year to March 2006 an extra 50 salaried dentists posts were created across Scotland, specifically to do NHS work.
Meanwhile, new figures from ISD Scotland also show a rise in the number of NHS GDS dentists working in Scotland, while there has been little change in the percentage of the population who are registered with an NHS general dentist. The ISD figures do not include the majority of patients seen by salaried dentists.
Deputy Health Minister Lewis Macdonald said:
" Today's report is good news for patients. Salaried dentists are now treating tens of thousands of people through the NHS. More and more are being recruited, and the overall activity undertaken by these professionals is rising sharply.
_ Too often, the amount of work carried out by this group is not fully recognised. Most of the patients seen by salaried dentists are not registered, but that doesn't mean we should ignore the amount of NHS work they are doing.
_ I've acknowledged there are problems of access in certain parts of Scotland, and we are working to address that. Part of the solution has been for local Health Boards to recruit salaried dentists.
_ I'm also pleased to see the number of non-salaried NHS dentists is beginning to rise, and I would hope to welcome even more into the health service over the next few months and years.
_ Since the Dental Action Plan was launched in 2005, we are investing record amounts to make sure we deliver a first class NHS dental service.
_ That's included doubling allowances for NHS dental practices, investment to upgrade premises, a dental bursary scheme to encourage more dental students to pursue their careers in the NHS, and much more."
The increase in the activity of the salaried general dental service has seen a rise from 85,941 forms processed in the year to March 31, 2005 to 104,956 in the year to March 31, 2006. In the year to March 31, 2004 the number was 62,165.
The Scottish Dental Practice Board Annual Report gives a comprehensive breakdown of dental activity in 2005/06. Between the quarters ending Dec 31, 2005 and March 31, 2006 registration levels remained steady at 47% for adults and 67% for children. The overall number of NHS dental examinations carried out by non-salaried dentists in 2005/06 was 2.15 million compared to 2.18 million in 2004/05.
Source: Scottish Executive (Scotland).