McArthur calls for targeted support to recruit and retain island dentists

25 May 2023

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur called today for the Government to target support at recruiting and retaining NHS dentists in rural and island areas.

Speaking during General Questions, Mr McArthur warned the Health Minister, Jenny Minto against spreading recruitment and retention support too thinly and risking undermining its effectiveness. Orkney’s MSP reminded parliament that, notwithstanding the crisis faced by the sector nationally, there are specific challenges facing dentistry in rural and island areas, where additional capacity is desperately needed.

Commenting afterwards, Mr McArthur said:

“The NHS dentistry crisis is being felt nationwide, but there are specific challenges affecting rural and island areas. We need to see the detail of the Scottish Government’s proposals for reforming overall funding arrangements for NHS dentistry, but targeted support is also urgently needed.

“In the past, such an approach has been effective in addressing the particular recruitment and retention issues in rural and island areas. That can be the case again going forward, but ministers must avoid spreading it too thinly if it’s to be effective.

“Additional NHS dental capacity is desperately needed in Orkney to address the current backlog and get patients registered and seen on a more regular basis. I welcome the Minister’s recognition of this and her commitment to look at how such targeted support might be provided.

“Given the serious situation locally, I will be pressing the Minister to come forward with more detail as soon as possible”.