Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has requested more support from the Scottish Government to improve dentistry waiting times in Orkney.
A Scottish Liberal Democrat freedom of information request answered by NHS Orkney found that the average waiting time for orthodontic dental treatment in 2018 was 17.9 weeks and for restorative treatment was 25.2 weeks.
Following the revelations, Mr McArthur wrote to both NHS Orkney and the Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, to find out what funding the Scottish Government will make available to NHS Orkney to help them reduce these lengthy delays.
Gerry O’Brien, Chief Executive at NHS Orkney, has responded to Mr McArthur acknowledging that there are areas for improvement but also highlighting that oral and dental care are both in a strong position.
Commenting on the findings, Mr McArthur said:
“I am very aware that there has been real progress made in terms of dental provision in Orkney. Compared to the situation a few years ago, access to services has improved considerable and waiting times are down, on the whole. Nevertheless, there are still areas where further work is needed.
“It is concerning to hear, for example, that some patients in Orkney are still experiencing long delays before they can access restorative and orthodontic dental treatment. One patient had to wait a year for restorative treatment, which is unacceptable.
“I have raised concerns with the Health Secretary and requested additional government support to help NHS Orkney address these outstanding issues and bring waiting times in Orkney in line with other parts of the country across the board”.