Scotland: free treatment in NHS surgeries coming soon?
The Scottish government is making good on a pre-election pledge to provide free access to NHS dental care to all the country's residents, starting with 18-25 year olds. This promise was made by the Scottish National Party (SNP) just a month before the May 6 elections. The SNP won them 63 seats in the 129-member parliament.
In April this year. Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon's party has made a pledge to extend free dental care in National Health Service (NHS) offices to more age groups. Until now, it could only be used by people under 18. year of age.
Will everyone in Scotland be able to get their teeth treated for free?
According to plans, access to free treatment in NHS practices will be gradually expanded during the current parliamentary term – first to young adults: ages 18 to 25. As calculated, a total of about 600,000 patients will benefit from the changes in access to free dental care.
Following their victory in May's election, Scotland's ruling party is already taking the first steps to fulfill its pledge. In a document addressed to all surgeries with NHS contracts, Nicola Sturgeon's government explains the legislative route in parliament to implement the planned changes.
In a letter signed by Humza Yousaf, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Human Services. The Edinburgh government's Health and Social Services Directorate reads: – The government has made an election promise to abolish all charges for NHS dental care during the current parliamentary term. We also made a 100-day commitment to waive fees for young people – from 18. up to 25. year.
Starting with young adults
Although the government plans free care for all residents of the country, the letter explains why young adults will be the first to gain access to free treatment. – Our rationale is that the oral health of young people often suffers when they first move out of the family home, away from parental supervision. We are also aware of the disproportionate economic impact of the pandemic on people at a young age – Humza Yousaf wrote.
– It is my intention to restore dental treatment in NHS facilities to pre-pandemic status as soon as possible. Government's commitment to provide patients with dental care and treatment at National Health Service offices – reported Humza Yousaf. He added that he understands the challenges dentists face during a coronavirus pandemic, so he pledged to discuss additional financial support with the British Dental Association (BDA).
According to The Scottish Sun, non-exempt patients currently pay 80% of the cost of dental treatment at NHS clinics – up to a maximum of 384 pounds sterling for a full course of treatment.
– There is talk of research, for now not on humans, where we put „a sponge” into a cavity, from which natural dentin is formed. I think that sooner or later we will treat patients with stem cells – says in an interview with Dentonet Dr. n. med. Michal Ganovich, asked about the anticipated development of materials used in dentistry.