Prisoners claim they’re ‘cutting out own teeth and abscesses with razor blades’

A former prisoner at Scotland's biggest jail claims lags are forced to attempt gruesome dental procedures on one another using razor blades.

The anonymous ex-con said he had to slash an abscess and remove a tooth at Glasgow's Barlinnie prison, using the jail's shower stalls as a makeshift dental surgery.

He said inmates on remand have been unable to access dental care, forcing them into horrific DIY attempts.

"This guy was screaming throughout the night," the man, who was released from prison earlier this week, told the Daily Record.

"He wanted it sorted. He had a big abscess on his gums so we got a razor and part of a vape pen.

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"He was held back then somebody cut down the abscess with the razor.

"The pen was put over the tooth and pulled out. He was spitting poison and blood."

On Wednesday the Scottish Prison Service said all prisoners had the same access to healthcare as the community.

A spokesperson said: "Dental services at Barlinnie have been limited during the pandemic, as they have been across Scotland, due to the need to maintain physical distancing and enhanced infection control measures.

"Essential care continues to be provided for anyone who needs it.

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"This is provided off-site and under escort. All prisoners are supplied with good oral health guidance.

"Prisoners continue to have access to onsite GP medical services and nursing services, however services have been restricted because of the need to maintain physical distancing.

"Care is prioritised according to clinical need."

David McColl, Chair of the British Dental Association's Scottish Dental Practice Committee said: "Ministers must ensure we turn the page on 'DIY' dentistry that belongs in the Victorian era.

"This service faces huge backlogs and tight restrictions, but people in pain should never feel they are without options.

"The Welsh Government has already offered dedicated funding for new ventilation systems to increase patient numbers safely.

"We need action here, and on testing and vaccination, so we can best serve the patients who need us most."

A spokesperson for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: "Dental services at Barlinnie have been limited during the pandemic, as they have been across Scotland, due to the need to maintain physical distancing and enhanced infection control measures.

"Essential care continues to be provided for anyone who needs it. This is provided off-site and under escort.

"All prisoners are supplied with good oral health guidance.

"Prisoners continue to have access to onsite GP medical services and nursing services, however services have been restricted because of the need to maintain physical distancing.

"Care is prioritised according to clinical need."

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