Lib Dems to launch Scottish election campaign with dentistry focus

Sir Ed Davey and Alex Cole-Hamilton will begin the party’s Scottish campaign on Monday.

Sir Ed Davey will be in Scotland for the launch
Sir Ed Davey will be in Scotland for the launch (Andrew Matthews/PA)

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Ed Davey will launch the party’s Scottish General Election campaign on Monday, with a focus on NHS dentistry.

He will join Scottish party leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, with their message saying dentistry has been neglected by SNP and Conservative governments.

At the last Westminster election in 2019, the Lib Dems won four of the 59 Scottish seats, although with boundary changes there are now only 57 constituencies north of the border.

Mr Cole-Hamilton said: “People are resorting to DIY dentistry and buying tools off Amazon to do the job themselves because they can’t get an NHS dentist.

“Some Ukrainians have even travelled back to Kyiv for dental care because the air-raid sirens, drone strikes and cruise missiles are less daunting than the waits in Scotland’s NHS.

“The SNP promised to scrap dental charges, but instead they have introduced new charges and doubled the price of some procedures.

“Dentists are being driven away from the NHS because working with this SNP government is harder than pulling teeth.

“No matter how much pain you are in, seeing an NHS dentist in Scotland is harder than ever before.

“It’s a stark reminder of how the SNP make empty promises and can’t get the basics right.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton (Lesley Martin/PA)

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey said: “It is a national scandal that children’s teeth are left to rot and people are forced to carry out their own dental work.

“It is time to end dental deserts after years of neglect by Conservative and SNP governments.

“In Westminster, the Conservative Party has shown complete disregard for dental services, while the SNP record on the NHS continues to be shameful.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government is improving access to NHS dentistry in Scotland, following the significant interruption posed by the pandemic, and has implemented significant NHS dental payment reform following extensive discussion with the dental sector.

“In the first month following these changes, almost 400,000 patients were seen by an NHS primary care dentist – an early indication that our reforms are working.

“We are also actively working with our counterparts across the UK on a range of initiatives designed to improve services through increases to the supply and diversity of the workforce.”

On Sunday, Mr Cole-Hamilton took part in a sponsored run to raise money for cystic fibrosis, completing part of the Edinburgh Marathon in memory of a childhood friend who died 10 years ago.