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Dentists sending ‘vitriolic abuse’ because they are so angry about Scottish Government talks

The country's dentists remain frustrated.
The country's dentists remain frustrated.

Scotland’s dentists have reiterated their “dissatisfaction” with the government over what they say is a lack of negotiation and engagement over plans for the phased return of services.

In a scathing letter to the government’s chief dental officer Tom Ferris, the chairman of the British Dental Association’s Scottish dental practice committee (SDPC), David McColl, describes the confusion and frustration felt by the country’s dentists.

They have repeatedly warned elements of the government’s plans could “jeopardise patient safety” — including carrying out an examination without a 3-in-1 syringe, or detecting decay during an examination that cannot be effectively treated. Aerosol tools are currently banned to limit the chance of spreading coronavirus.

Mr McColl said anger is at such a level that he and his vice-chairman on the committee had been subject to “vitriolic abuse” regarding the negotiations.

First Minister insists dentists have not been overlooked as body accuses government of failing to talk to them

The Scottish Government has insisted that concerns are being listened to. On Wednesday, the government’s clinical director, Professor Jason Leitch, said discussions with the BDA were continuing and said they hoped to get a resolution “as quickly as possible”.

But the country’s dentists remain frustrated.

In his letter, Mr McColl said his and his colleague’s “professional integrity” was being repeatedly questioned because of a lack of engagement with the government.

He said: “We understand that these are exceptional times, and that on occasion there may be little time to negotiate fully and to reach a consensus. However, repeatedly sending important documents which are either a ‘done deal’ or with very little time to consider and discuss does not represent meaningful engagement or negotiation.

“Both myself and the SDPC vice chair have received sustained, vitriolic abuse on the Scottish Dental Practice Owners online platform as we have been personally accused of failing to negotiate effectively with the Scottish Government.

“We have tried to engage constructively and effectively with the Scottish Government, but our professional integrity (and that of SDPC and the BDA) has been openly and repeatedly questioned by others in the profession due to the lack of
engagement.

“This situation is highly stressful and clearly untenable.”

The Scottish Government was approached for comment.

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