The major struggle of dental recruitment in Scotland

As is the case across the four nations, a major struggle for dentists in Scotland at the moment is the recruitment of staff.

As Wesleyan specialist financial adviser, Morna Beattie, explains in this short video, uniquely in Scotland, the general shortage of associates has been exacerbated by the decision to oblige all dental students at Scottish dental schools to repeat the 2020-21 academic year.

This has resulted in a year without new graduates being able to commence their VT. This has led to what Morna describes as ‘a missing year in Scotland’ for new associates.

In addition, practices are also experiencing difficulties in recruiting support staff. All of these factors have had an effect upon the ability of practices to carry out NHS treatment. This may have contributed to the fact that productivity has still not returned to pre-Covid-19 levels.

The next six months

The initial Covid-19 support offered to dentists in Scotland was reasonably well received. But the tailing off of the multiplier to its current level of 1.1 has not kept up with the skyrocketing costs of running a practice and now sees them struggling to cover their costs for NHS treatment.

The Scottish government has pledged to retain the ‘bridging payment’ for a further six months. But many dentists feel an increase in the multiplier is needed to enable them to cover their costs and survive.

The next six months may prove interesting for those involved in NHS dentistry in Scotland. Will the Scottish government make good on the promise made last year by the Health Minister to consult with all dental groups?

Will the promised new plan make an appearance? And will the disappointment dentists express at the lack of progress being made be the final straw that drives them away from NHS dentistry into private practice?

We may not have to wait long to find out.

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