20 December 2016
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has contacted the Western Isles Integration Joint Board (IJB) asking them to reconsider their recommendation that a single dental hub based in the Uist and Barra Hospital is advanced.
The paper has been submitted for approval at the board meeting this Thursday (22/12/16).
The IJB has the authority to direct the two parent bodies, the health board and the local authority, about how it wants integrated services to be delivered.
The IJB has recommended a single dental hub for Uist be advanced, despite acknowledging that the outcome of an Options Appraisal Event on 29 November which was attended by a mix of community representatives, patients, stakeholders and staff members, showed that “A three site option was the heavy preference emerging from the event” with concern about accessibility issues, including transport arrangements to the new hub, being raised. Facilities in Lochmaddy, Lochboisdale and Liniclate School would be closed as a result of the centralisation of services to Benbecula.
“I share the concerns of the communities who are faced with losing their local dental service.
“With an aging population in Uist and poor public transport infrastructure, many elderly patients will struggle to travel the distance to the Uist and Barra Hospital.
“ Also, I am not clear if patients would be offered travelling expenses for their extended journeys to the single hub and I have asked for clarification on that.
“ I have contacted the Chief Executive of NHS Western Isles previously and I have now also appealed to the IJB board to reconsider the recommendation to advance with the single hub.
“I absolutely appreciate that health boards and local authorities throughout the country are being asked to make incredibly difficult decisions to fit with their reducing budgets but given the strength of feeling in the area about this proposal, I have asked the board, even at this late stage, to reconsider this recommendation and give due consideration to the views and needs of the Uist population who wish, and need, their dental services to remain within their dispersed communities.”