Scotland’s national clinical director outlines plans for dental practices

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Professor Jason Leitch, national clinical director for the Scottish Government, has outlined plans for a gradual reopening of dental practices.

Speaking at the daily press briefing on Friday 15th May, Prof Leitch said that plans were currently being drawn up to introduce a phased reopening, which would enable patients to see a dentist in the safest possible environment. Despite confirming that arrangements were in place, Prof Leitch was keen to stress that dentistry would not return to normal in the coming weeks and claimed that it could be some time before patients attend routine appointments again.

At present, high street practices in Scotland and the rest of the UK are closed, and emergency care centres have been set up to provide urgent assistance during the pandemic. This system will remain in place for the foreseeable future, but there are wheels in motion in terms of starting to think about what will happen when it is safe to reopen local surgeries. 

There are currently 56 urgent dental care centres across Scotland. While the threat of infection remains high, emergency clinics will operate a skeleton service, with high street practices not expected to operate fully for several weeks, even after they get the green light to reopen. 

The government is liaising with dental bodies and Scotland’s chief dental officer and dentists and patients will be updated as and when decisions are taken.

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