BBC UK: ‘Scotland had significantly better [40%] access to NHS dentistry’

A BBC UK investigation finds:

Nine in 10 NHS dental practices across the UK are not accepting new adult patients for treatment under the health service, a BBC investigation has found. Our research shows no dentists taking on adult NHS patients could be found in a third of the UK’s top-tier councils. Scotland had significantly better access to NHS dentistry for adults than the other UK nations, with 18% of practices taking on new health-service patients.

Reporting Scotland, of course, focus on the negative with only, at the end a grudging:

The Scottish Government said NHS dentistry here was in a position of relative strength to other parts of the UK.

and no mention of:

The Scottish government said that more than 95% of the population were registered with an NHS dentist. It added that the dental workforce in Scotland (54 dentists per 100,000 population) was stronger than in England (42 per 100,000 population).


From the Scottish Government in March 2022:

We’re delivering record investment in dentistry – with a 9% increase in the budget for NHS dental services in 2022-23 – and there has been a 39% increase in the number of high-street dentists in Scotland between 2007 and 2021. Last year there were 55.6 dentists per 100,000 of the population providing NHS care in Scotland compared to 39.9 in England.

Where did BBC Scotland get their 54% and 42% figures?

So, that’s 39.34% more NHS dentists on top of 26% more GPs and 49% more nurses.

Sources here:


9 thoughts on “BBC UK: ‘Scotland had significantly better [40%] access to NHS dentistry’

  1. “Where did BBC Scotland get their 54% and 42% figures?” – Possibly the Linda Winters school of mathematics….

    I did wonder when the HMS James Cook version follow up, and there it is complete with “Analysis by Lisa Summers”, but note the sly change from the original UK piece in the 3 first paragraphs.

    Linda of course plagiarises the UK original with her own distinct slant “It may be that 95% of Scots are still registered with an NHS dentist”, THEN APPLIES HER GIFT FOR PREDICTION WITH “but if only 18% of practices are taking on new patients, it could be a very different story in a few years time”, hence maintaining her BBC doom and gloom quota for the month.

    “Impartial James Cook” – Och ma sides…..🤣

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Based on that logic…

      But if the rest of the UK with a smaller percentage of the population registered with an NHS dentist, and only 9% of practices taking new NHS patients, it could be a very different story in a matter of months, if not weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Extracting the tooth/truth from BBC Scotlandshire without a general anaesthetic would require a dentist of the stature of Anus Sarwar ! LoL !

    Liked by 3 people

  3. It’s a year since this announcement.

    “Health Secretary Humza Yousaf said:

    “We’re committed to scrapping NHS dental charges for everyone in Scotland, and removing them for everyone aged under 26 is our first step on that journey. Today’s announcement means around 600,000 young people aged under 26 will benefit from free dental care from 24 August.

    “I want to thank the dental sector for its outstanding efforts over the last challenging period and I look forward to engaging with you further as the Scottish Government continues to support practice recovery and improved NHS dental services for patients.”

    Does the rest of UK have plans to scrap NHS dental charges for everyone too?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Round about 2004 – 05 the move within dentistry was to take their practices private. Our practice certainly made moves in that direction but still offered the option to patients to remain as NHS patients which we did.

    About that time I was in the company of a group of young dentists who were all gungo-ho for private dentistry. We will be able to offer a better service they said then one said: ‘older generations did not understand about dental hygiene’. That was a red rag to a bull comment as far as I was concerned so I put them straight in no uncertain terms. I pointed out that the older generations knew all about dental hygiene but they also knew about putting food on the table and if it came to a choice between paying for dental treatment or paying for food, and rent, food and a roof would always win. Then I told them about getting all your teeth out as a wedding present or a 21st birthday present. Luckily there were others in the company of similar vintage to me who backed me up. The young dentists were less cocky then and presumably less enamoured of going private a few years later when the financial crash came in 2007-08 and they found out that the 1st thing people did to save money was to give up the private dentistry.

    Another event about that time which affected the attraction of private dentistry was my generation retiring. Many had private dentistry plans via their work and when they retired the cost of paying for those plans even from a decent pension made them revert to the NHS.

    Now we have a cost of living crisis and those dentist who have gone wholly private or turned away NHS patients will soon find out how cold it gets when hell freezes over.

    Dentists can make a good living from being wholly NHS or a mixture of private and NHS but NHS is their bread and butter and you can live on that.

    Sorry this was such a long post but the issue of private dentistry hits a nerve.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. In an article dated November 2019 and published on the web site of the big international legal/financial services firm, Pinsent Masons we learn this. There is an increasing trend in private equity firms hoovering up – aka ‘consolidating the market’ in – dental practices/partnerships in the UK.

    Readers of TuS will be aware of the major role of private equity in the residential care sector exposed during the Covid pandemic. Some may also be aware of comparable private sector activity in buying up GP practices across the UK. The web site Public Matters reported this for England as far back as 2019:

    ‘Centene, a major US insurance company, owns The Practice – the largest GP group in the country which spreads from Birmingham up to the North East and down to London. It has just acquired 49 more practices spread across London from AT Medics. It now has 500,000 registered patients. Optum, the UK subsidiary of US giant United Health, provides services to the second largest GP group, Modality, and is the fund holder for the new GP Primary Care Networks.’

    And again reflecting on the NHS in England: ‘What we don’t have anymore is the NHS as a unified provider of universal and comprehensive services. Funding the NHS to provide what is needed, where it’s needed, is no longer the prime objective.

    ‘We are half way to Medicare (which will be and may already be, depending where you live, the second tier of a two tier system) with all the right business processes, billing systems, etc, already in place. #Medicare4All might be a huge step up for America, but it’s a big step down for the NHS in England.’


    The latter article is worth a read but it will be an uncomfortable one for anyone who believes in the universal, free at the point of use NHS model. And however the public vs. private balance of health and social care provision in England evolves, the outcome will impact public finances in Scotland via the Barnett Formula.

    We the electorate in Scotland – whilst in this Union – can’t influence policy in Westminster in any substantial way through the ballot box.

    Of course, we are permitted to spectate from our North Britain periphery as those with agency derived from votes in England make the big decisions that will affect us all!

    Liked by 1 person

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