Furious OAP claims patients being ‘discarded’ after dentist stops NHS treatment

A frustrated pensioner whose dentist stopped NHS treatment claims patients are being ‘discarded’ after he struggled to find a new surgery and was told ‘not to expect a referral any time soon’.

Grandfather-of-three Douglas Jamieson was shocked when he received notice that Duddingston Dental Centre was moving to private only ‘membership’ at cost of £170 a year fee for check-ups only, plus the cost of any treatment required on top.

Mr Jamieson, 85, who has been a patient at the surgery for more than 30 years, contacted five different surgeries before he was finally told he’d be added to a waiting list but that he’d face a long wait even for a basic check-up.

The pensioner’s plight has sparked fresh fears over axed NHS services in the Capital and calls from Lothians MSP Miles Briggs for action to stem a ‘worsening’ crisis.

A furious OAP says patients are being ‘discarded’ after dentist stops NHS treatment. Photo: John Giles/PA Wire

It follows a survey this week which revealed that the majority of NHS dental practices in the UK are unable to offer appointments to new adult patients.

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Mr Jamieson said: “It’s just not right that after paying into the NHS all these years my dentist can turn around and say sorry this isn’t for you any more. The priority now is given to those who can afford to pay for treatment.

"I tried five dental practices in the area and none of them would take me on as a NHS patient, although one said they would put me on the waiting list but not to expect a referral any time soon.”

The Scottish Government said that 95 per cent of the adult population are registered for NHS treatment, but as more dental practices are going private, all their NHS patients are being left in limbo with nowhere to go.

"The SNP came out with the usual pathetic statement that Scotland is faring better than the other countries in the Union, but I don't live in these other countries and I would like to know what is being done for me and others like me who are being discarded when dental practices are refusing to carry out NHS treatment. I feel it’s wrong and on principle, it makes me angry".

The Evening News reported last month that health chiefs confirmed at least four practices in the Capital have moved to private treatment only in the past year, forcing thousands to pay for treatments or find another practice.

Frustrated patients are facing waits of six months or longer to be seen amid an ‘exodus’ from the NHS over slashed fees and continuing backlogs made worse by the impact of Covid restrictions.

Lothian MSP Miles Briggs said: "In Edinburgh we are seeing a worsening crisis in dental services, with people unable to register with a dentist or get routine check ups.

"SNP Ministers have failed to properly support dentists with practices being forced to turn away new patients and many practices going private.

"A lack of affordable dentists means that fewer children and adults will see the dentist leading to poorer dental health across the Capital.

"SNP Ministers must urgently give dentists the support that they need to provide people with necessary dental services."

Angus Walls, Director of Dentistry for NHS Lothian, said: “We are aware of a small number of practices in NHS Lothian that are withdrawing from NHS dental provision.

“The health board remains committed to supporting access to dental services across our communities and we work closely with independent contractors to review current provision across Lothian.

“Details of all dental practices across Scotland are listed on the NHS Inform website. In addition, to support patients locally, we review dental practices’ willingness to accept new

NHS patients monthly. The NHS Lothian website includes information about practices that tell us they may be taking on new patients.