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Tabloids report patients travelling far and wide to receive dental treatment


  Posted by: The Probe      5th October 2020

Scotland’s The Sunday Post is reporting that Scottish dental patients are “travelling hundreds of miles on planes and ferries to get treatment” and that Glaswegian dentists “are seeing patients privately from as far away as Skye and Aberdeen because they cannot access NHS appointments locally due to Covid rules”.

Some patients had travelled several hundred miles by plane and ferry just to get a filling, according to the Post‘s headline.

“I’ve been seeing patients who have come from as far afield as Skye, the Highlands, Aberdeen and Dundee privately because they cannot access an NHS dentist locally,” Brendan Murphy, who runs the Appletree dental clinic in Glasgow, revealed to The Sunday Post. “Routine dentistry is currently available privately to those who can afford it, no matter what any cabinet minister might tell you. This is an urgent matter which hasn’t been addressed by the Scottish Government and it has created a two-tier system for the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’.”

This supports earlier reports that more dentists in Scotland have been refusing to treat NHS patients than in England, resulting in many pateints struggling to access even basic check-ups. An investigation by the Herald, another Scottish paper, found that treatment varied widely across Scotland and that there was confusion over which treatments dentists can offer to non-private patients. Only emergency AGPs can be provided on the NHS in Scotland currently, but there does not seem to be consensus over the treatments that are allowed.

Meanwhile, The Guardian has reported that one man from Northern Ireland has died while two of his friends have been left in a critical condition after they travelled to Turkey to undergo a teeth whitening procedure.

Turkey reportedly has a large medical and dental tourism industry – including organ transplants and heart surgery, as well as teeth whitening. In 2017, it is believed that up to 700,000 people visited the country for medical procedures and operations, according to the Istanbul International Health Tourism Association.

The Guardian states that there are unconfirmed reports of the three men having taken medication linked to the treatment prior to being discovered unconscious in their accommodation. There is said to be no suggestion that the medication was the cause of the death or the two other men falling unconscious at this time.

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