Save our dentist

An elected member of Wigtown Area Committee is appealing to the public to turn up at a meeting with the NHS if they want to save dental services in Newton Stewart.

At this week’s Wigtown Area Committee meeting, Mid Galloway Councillor Alistair Geddes asked for his fellow members to support his request to bring NHS chiefs to the table to explain, face to face with the public, why they are considering closing the dental centre in the town’s health centre after what he described as “inadequate consultation”.

Councillor Geddes said: “I am delighted that the area committee have agreed to a special meeting with the NHS over dental services. But time is of the essence, the NHS are due to make a decision on this on June 2, so I would urge the public to turn out and show their support for the continuation of NHS dental provision in Newton Stewart.”

An NHS spokesperson said: “It has always been Scottish Government policy that independent dental contractors (High Street Dentists) are the preferred provider of routine primary oral health care in Scotland. NHS Boards were given powers to appoint salaried dental practitioners where they were unable to secure routine NHS dental care by independent contractors. Following the improvements seen in dental access it is the responsibility of the Board to review its Salaried Service Provision to ensure that it is providing services that meet these changes in demands.

“There has been significant improvements in access to NHS dental services across Dumfries and Galloway in the last couple of years and therefore it was felt appropriate that a review should be undertaken to determine the role the Salaried Dental Services should play in providing routine NHS dental services at Newton Stewart Health Centre.

“The recommendations of the review are that Newton Stewart should stop providing routine NHS services with patients to transfer to an independent dental practice for continued provision of NHS dental services. Please note that a facilitated transfer would mean that the Health Board would arrange for the patient to register with an independent contractor practice for continued NHS dental care. Patients would not be required to find their own NHS dentist.

“It is important to note that the review is not considering a major service change to NHS dental services but rather a change of service provider. Following completion of the review, posters, patient information leaflets and comments forms were made available at the clinics regarding the proposed options and what this may mean for patients. Comments on the recommendation will be accepted until April 22.

“I would like to re-iterate that no decisions on this matter have been taken and that a summary of the patient responses will be included in the final report that is submitted to the NHS Board. It is anticipated that the NHS Board will receive the final report on June 2 for decision making.”

The date of the special meeting will be advertised shortly.