Dentists have come don heavily on the Polish recruitment scheme to beef up NHS and have termed it as a "short term fix." These comments were made even as ministers welcomed the first 11 Polish dentists into the NHS, who will practice in Fife, Forth Valley and Argyll and Clyde.
The Scottish Executive revealed that around 40 Poles have been recruited so far this year. The British Dental Association (BDA) has warned that these schemes could affect dentistry in an adverse manner. "The intransigence of the Scottish Executive threatens to jeopardize patients' access to NHS dentistry. There are many dentists, across Scotland, who are committed to their NHS patients and want to continue treating them," said BDA Scotland director Dr Andrew Lamb. "Sadly, the approach of the Scottish Executive will make it increasingly difficult for some of these practitioners to continue doing so." However Deputy Health Minister Lewis Macdonald said that the Executive had no intention of reviewing the rules introduced last year, "The main problem of access to NHS dentistry is for adult patients who are de-registered against their will and then forced to pay for private treatment," he said. For us to invest money without setting a threshold for the number of adult NHS patients a dentist must treat would compound this problem, not solve it." The 40 dentists will provide treatment for 80,000 patients. "It is clear the Polish dentists will play a valuable role in increasing the number of patients who are able to choose to access NHS dental services across Scotland," Macdonald said. "That is good news for patients and good news for the future of NHS dentistry in Scotland."