NHS chiefs to face public over dental service row

Health Board officials will have to justify their thinking behind plans to axe NHS dental provision from Newton Stewart Heath Centre at a meeting with elected members and the general public next Tuesday evening.

Wigtown Area Committee councillors have been dismayed at the lack of consultation by the NHS with the public over this and pressed for a meeting so the health board decision makers could come face-to-face with the people their proposal will affect before a final decision is taken on June 2.

Mid Galloway Councillor Graham Nicol said: “It will be very interesting to hear what justification there is for the withdrawal of this service at Newton Stewart Health Centre.

“The consultation with the local people and the lack of information given to the users of the service has been shambolic and frankly insulting to the patients.”

NHS Dumfries and Galloway say that independent dental contractors (high street dentists) are the preferred provider of oral health care in Scotland and since there has been “significant improvements” in access to NHS dental services in Dumfries and Galloway over the last couple of years it was appropriate, after a review, to remove NHS dental service as five locations across the region, including Newton Stewart Health Centre.

The options to be discussed are: retain the status quo; transfer of services to an independent contractor operating from Newton Stewart Health Centre or closure of the Newton Stewart clinic, with assistance provided for patients to transfer to one of the two local dental practices.

The meeting will take place in the Douglas Ewart High School at 7pm and the public are encouraged to attend. There will be a consultation questionnaire at the meeting.