New figures not a ‘success story’

26 January, 2017 / editorial

The BDA has hit back at the latest Scottish Government figures arguing that they don’t dispel fears that participation rates are in continual decline.

The association derided claims from Holyrood that the new ISD Scotland figures were a success story, saying that the data reveals 1.4 million registered patients haven’t seen an NHS dentist in the last two years. It also notes that unregistered Scots bring the total of non-attenders to nearly two million.

The BDA argues that, since the registration rules were amended in 2007 to bring in continuous or lifetime registration, participation rates have been in decline. Ten years ago, 99 per centof the 2.5 million registered patients had regular contact with their dentist.

It’s not enough to get high-risk adults on our books or on some government spreadsheet. We need real support to get these patients in our chairs

Robert Donald

The latest figures also show adults and children from the most deprived are less likely to have seen their dentist in the last two years compared with those in the least deprived areas. The association has also called for the Scottish Government to do more to boost participation among adults in deprived areas to combat the rise in oral cancer.

The European age-standardised oral cancer incidence rates for both men and women are significantly higher in Scotland, at 16.8 per 100,000 compared with 12.4 in England, and 11.9 in Northern Ireland.

Robert Donald, chair of the BDA’s Scottish Dental Practice Committee said: “The Scottish government must stop boasting about ‘record breaking’ registration rates. The facts are nearly two million Scots are not getting the NHS dental treatment they are entitled to.

“Scotland can take pride in what it’s achieved when it comes to fighting decay among children. Now Ministers must show some of the same determination to get adults, particularly those from deprived communities, to attend.

“Our oral cancer is on the rise and early detection is key. It’s not enough to get high-risk adults on our books or on some government spreadsheet. We need real support to get these patients in our chairs.”

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