Nicola Sturgeon will today (Friday) reaffirm the SNP’s commitment to an NHS which is free at the point of need by setting out plans to scrap NHS dentistry charges in Scotland – and will pledge to work with dentists to create a sustainable long-term funding arrangement for the profession.
The SNP manifesto – published yesterday – contained an ambitious plan to remobilise the NHS after the pandemic with a 20% increase in frontline NHS spending.
With prescription charges abolished by the SNP – as well as charges for hospital parking at NHS sites – the last remaining service for which people are routinely charged is dentistry.
Ms Sturgeon will today confirm that, if the SNP is re-elected, all NHS dentistry charges will be scrapped over the next Parliament – starting with care experienced by young people.
Removing the charges will cost around £75m, estimated to increase to £100m based on the additional uptake which the SNP expect – and hope – will occur as the result of the cost being removed.
Speaking on a visit to Glasgow today, Nicola Sturgeon is expected to say: “NHS services should be free at the point of need, and when I was Health Secretary I was proud to abolish prescription charges, which were little more than a tax on ill health.
“Although we have made huge progress in improving access to dental treatment in Scotland in recent years, charges remain a barrier for too many people.
“That’s why, if re-elected, an SNP Government will abolish all NHS dentistry charges in Scotland.
“We will start the roll-out with care experienced people between the ages of 18 and 26 – and complete the roll-out over the course of the parliament.
“As we do this, we will engage with the British Dental Association and others to help shape a reformed funding arrangement to make their services sustainable for the long-term.
“By giving both votes to the SNP on May 6th, people can elect a government and a first minister absolutely committed to ensuring that vital services such as dentistry are available to all.
“That is testament to the fairer society that we want to build.”