Minister “Does Not Get It” on New Orthodontic Guidelines
Mark Griffin MSP has accused the Scottish Government of being out of touch with ordinary Scots over the introduction of orthodontic charges for children.
Under strict new guidelines, dentists must prove that a child’s health will be improved for them to receive orthodontic treatment for free. If a dentist cannot prove this, parents would be forced to pay thousands of pounds for their child to benefit from a brace.
Mr Griffin quizzed Public Health Minister Michael Matheson MSP on the charges during General Question Time on Thursday 3 November.
Speaking afterwards, Mark said:
“I asked a specific question on the strict new guidelines the Government has introduced and how they could create a tiered system in Scotland, with poorer families, who do not meet the criteria, and cannot afford the costs, being forced to go without.
“However the answer I got shows that the Minister just does not get it. Michael Matheson focussed on the Index of Treatment, which Labour proposed in 2005 to end the postcode lottery on orthodontic care. The index is not the problem, far from it, it is the new guidelines that the Scottish Government has introduced which will cause the problems.
“Dentists have made clear that by cutting subsidies on braces, the Scottish Government will be forcing some families to pay £2000 or more for orthodontic treatment. I had a brace, as did two of my siblings. If these rules had been in place then, my parents would never have been able to afford these charges.
“The Scottish Government must act to ensure that children from poorer families do not lose out on orthodontic treatment because they cannot afford it.”