Is Brexit the cause of the lack of NHS dentists in Scotland?
Recently on Defacto Dentists, we’ve looked a lot at the impact NHS cuts are having on patient’s abilities to get treatment. Many people have no choice but to drive to two or three towns away just to be seen by a dentist. Even children – who are entitled to free NHS dental care until they’re 18 – are having to go without vital check-ups and treatment.
A recruitment crisis.
A UK-wide BDA survey last year revealed 58% of NHS dentists were considering leaving the profession within the next five years, with a third of members over the age of 55 looking to take early retirement. According to NHS Scotland figures, there were 3647 dentists in Scotland as of September 2017, down from 3670 the previous September and almost 400 of those dentists come from elsewhere in Europe. There is a shortage of dentists, for a nation that is relying more and more on NHS services.
What happens when there is nobody to fill the vacancies?
When recruiters cannot find local people to fill the vacancies for NHS practices, they look further afield for potential candidates. Their first point of call is to look for dentists from the EU. However, EU candidates are becoming less and less interested in these positions because of Brexit. There are also new rules surrounding work Visas are making it even harder to recruit from outside of the EU. If the positions cannot be filled, practices may opt to become private, something that we’ve seen a lot of recently.
Who is affected?
Well, Scotland are feeling the brunt of these cuts, but rural areas in Scotland are being hit hardest. This is because NHS practices in rural areas in the north of Scotland cannot provide the salaries that are being offered in the larger cities in England. Unsurprisingly, these salaries are much more appealing.
Find a dentist near you.
If you’re struggling to find an NHS dentist near you, Defacto Dentists can help. On our website www.defactodentists.com there are thousands of UK dentists listed and waiting to help. Simply search your location to get started. Then, from the checklist on the left, select NHS, to refine the search. All you have to do is browse the practice options and choose the one that best suits your needs.
What do you think about this recruitment crisis? What do you see for the future of NHS dentistry? Let us know in the comments or leave us a comment on social media.