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NHS Dental Care To Reach Another 35,000 People In Highland

19th January 2009

A major expansion of NHS dental services will allow an additional 35,000 people access to NHS dental treatment in the Highlands.

It follows the announcement of a 5.64million cash injection from Scottish Government.

The money will be added to Board funds to create 17,000 spaces for people to receive NHS dental treatment at new or expanded facilities in Thurso, Dingwall, Inverness, Oban and Campbeltown. Building work is expected to get underway on all of the projects over the next two financial years.

This supplements existing work on new or improved facilities at various stages of completion in Invergordon, Portree, Nairn and Grantown which will provide access to NHS care for an additional 12,000 people.

In addition General Dental Practitioners are opening a new five surgery facility in Inverness and work to transfer the first of 6000 people off the dental waiting list in the city has already begun.

NHS Highland Chair Garry Coutts said: "Most of the money announced by Government today will be used to establish facilities for lease to General Dental Practitioners providing NHS registrations. This complements our other developments which are staffed by Salaried Dentists and the Community Dental Service. This balance of service provision will create a more secure future for NHS dental registration in Highland. I'm delighted to see that we are making progress right across the region and that within the next two to three years more than 35,000 people will have access to ongoing dental treatment from the NHS."

NHS Highland Clinical Dental Director Catherine Lush said: "We know that there is still a lot of work to do before we see all these projects reach fruition. We can reassure people that we are doing everything possible to get services open quickly so we can transfer people off the waiting list."

Key projects

Part of today's announcement:

A six surgery facility in Oban providing 6,000 additional NHS registrations at a cost of 2.3million. Three further surgeries will support vocational training at a cost of 700,000.

A four surgery facility in Campbeltown for lease to existing GDP practice to provide an additional 2,000 NHS registrations and four chairs for undergraduate training at a cost of 3.1million.

A 1.3million facility to provide a minimum of 4,000 additional NHS registrations in renovated and extended premises at Dunbar Hospital in Thurso.

A new three surgery GDP dental practice in Inverness to provide a minimum of 3,000 additional NHS registrations.

A four surgery facility in Dingwall providing a minimum of 2,000 additional NHS registrations.

Existing projects at various stages:

A three surgery facility in Invergordon opening soon and providing up to 2,000 additional registrations.

A three surgery facility in Grantown opening March/April and providing 3,000 additional registrations.

A five surgery facility as part of the new Nairn Town and County Hospital opening next year and providing new accommodation for existing services plus an additional 4,000 registrations.

A five surgery facility in Portree providing an additional 3000 registrations. At option appraisal stage.

Scottish Dental Access Initiative Grant to General Dental Practitioners to provide a five surgery facility in Inverness taking 6,000 people off the NHS waiting list.

Projects not included in the figure of 35,000 that are in the process of recruiting NHS patients from the waiting list or priority care patients:

M&S Dental in Fort William providing NHS registration for an additional 3000 people in return for move to larger premises.

Inverness Dental Centre at the Centre for Health Science providing access for an additional 3000 people. Mostly people prioritised into care e.g. children and pregnant women.

General Dental Practitioners
The current NHS Highland waiting list for NHS dental provision stands at approximately 31,000. It must be stressed that this is only an indicator of the demand for NHS registration.

The waiting list is managed by the Dental Helpline. People can add their name to the list by phoning 0845 644 2271 or e-mail DentalHelpLine[AT]

MSP Rob Gibson commented today -
Thurso is to receive an expanded dental service thanks to funding from the Scottish Government.

The funding package announced by Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon sees 1.3 million being allocated to Thurso.

The funding means that the existing dental facility at Dunbar Hospital will be extended. The extension will provide a minimum of 4,000 extra places.

Speaking after the announcement Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson said....

"This is welcome funding which will go some way to easing the dental crisis in Caithness. It shows that the Scottish Government is following up on it's promise to improve dental services in throughout the country.

"This news makes it a win win situation for dental patients in Caithness . The Scottish Government's commitment to the Lochshell Dental practice in Wick and now the news of investment in Thurso will allow for more spaces thus reducing waiting list's and waiting times in the county."

"Given the tight financial situation capital build projects are important to help stimulate the economy. So this announcement will also benefit the construction industry of Caithness."

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