Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Almost a third of Fife dental practices not accepting new NHS patients

A trip to the dentist is rarely fun - but NHS patients in Fife are struggling to get one.
A trip to the dentist is rarely fun - but NHS patients in Fife are struggling to get one.

Nearly a third of Fife dental practices have been unable to register new NHS patients – while many have also had to turn away Childsmile referrals.

Making sure that patients across the country have access to affordable dental care has been a priority for the Scottish Government and recent Scotland-wide figures have shown increases in the proportion of patients registered with a dentist.

But new figures obtained via Freedom of Information have revealed that it has not been so easy in Fife, with 18 out of 60 practices across the region not taking on new NHS patients.

Eight have also been unable to accept referrals through the Childsmile programme, which is aimed at reducing inequalities in oral health and improving access to dental services for every child across the country.

Kirkcaldy is one of the areas worst hit, according to the statistics, with four of the nine dental practices in the Lang Toun unable to accept new patients.

Eight of the 26 practices in Dunfermline are in the same situation, prompting Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP Murdo Fraser to hit out at the figures.

“Whilst the Scottish Government has made progress in increasing the number of people across Scotland registered to a dentist, many patients in Fife would appear to being left behind,” he said.

“The consequences of poor oral health are clear. Statistics released earlier in the year showed that nearly 800 children under the age of 5 have had teeth pulled out in Fife since 2011/12.

“Not having access to adequate dental care can have serious consequences as dentists not only ensure your pearly whites remain just that, but are also on the frontline in spotting oral and throat cancer.

“To have nearly a third of practices in Fife not accepting new NHS patients is not good enough.

“I would call on the Scottish Government to ensure that Fife residents have access to NHS dentistry and reverse the trend which has seen falling numbers of students training to become dentists.”

NHS Fife says the decision of an independent practice to accept new NHS patients rests with each individual practice and can vary from week to week.

It also operates a dental advice line which provides information on a range of associated. topics.

On the issue of oral health, minister for public health Aileen Campbell has insisted there has been some significant improvements to oral health in recent years, particularly for children.

“We’ve seen a reduction in the level of tooth decay, increasing access to NHS dentists and the success of our Childsmile programme,” she said.

“There are also now over 4.8 million people registered with a NHS dentist, a record figure and we have also seen an unprecedented increase in the numbers of dentists providing NHS dental services, up 30 per cent under this government.

“Despite these successes it’s vital that we continue to look forward and make further improvements.

“Tooth decay is almost always preventable so there is no reason for a child to have poor teeth.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]