NHS dental services to end

NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s plans to close dental provision at the health centre in Minnigaff were met with dismay by members of Cree Valley Community Council this week.

The members slammed the health authority for failing to consult with them over these proposals, due to become policy in “spring 2014”, leaving little time to object.

This move could see NHS dental patients forced to sign up with private practices in the town, with no guarantee those practices will have the capacity to take them on.

Mid Galloway Councillor Alistair Geddes raged about the “inadequate” consultation as he was only now hearing this because CVCC councillor Gordon Pullen had obtained a letter about the proposed closure. Mr Pullen felt this was history repeating itself as he remembers dentists in Newton Stewart starting up under the NHS umbrella before announcing to patients they were going private, landing Mr Pullen and others with a monthly bill.

Councillor Geddes advised the community council to contact the NHS to ask for a visit by an official at a future meeting to discuss dental provision and insist the status quo remains until this takes place. He also criticised the NHS for presenting this as a “fait accompli” as the information states a final decision will be made this spring.

In the letter the NHS states that “access to NHS dental services has now greatly improved and NHS D&G felt it was necessary to review provision.

“The Scottish government prefers that NHS general dental services are provided by the independent dental contractor sector.”

Posters, leaflets and comment forms were available in clinics explaining the options being considered.