An investigation conducted by the Scotsman has revealed that as many as 250,000 Scots are unable to access emergency dental care, particularly during weekends. The Scottish Executive's Health Department had drawn up an emergency care plan which is yet to be implemented by the NHS. As much as £1.5 million has been allocated for this. The situation is reported to particularly bad in the country's highlands, with 10% of the population having to wait for a period of four years for consulting a National Health dentist. As many as 33% of Scots do not have a registration with a dentist.
An emergency service is planned to be introduced by the Highland and Lanarkshire NHS boards in 2006. The emergency service at Lanarkshire is expected to have 24 help lines. The consumer pressure groups however contend that the delay is altogether unacceptable, and the matter needs to be taken far more seriously. Many dentists in Scotland went in for private practice due to the under-funding of the NHS. Now emergency treatment is available only at the four important cities of Scotland. The Scottish Executive has plans to modernize about 30 dental practices in addition to setting up several 'treat and teach centers'.
New training centers are also planned for places like Coatbridge, Dumfries, and Perth. An out-of-hours dental care clinic has been established by the Lanarkshire dentists who had grown tired of waiting for the NHS to take the initiative. The dental health of the people in Lanarkshire is reputed to be extremely poor.