Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has expressed extreme disappointment that the proposal to centralise Uist dental services in Benbecula is not subject to higher level scrutiny.
Mrs Grant has received a response from the Scottish Government’s Minister for Public Health, Joe Fitzpatrick, advising that he is seeking assurances from NHS Western Isles on particular aspects of the new service, including the outreach component.
The Minister has advised that he is also keen to ensure that concerns from the local community and other health care professionals are addressed in full, and that the IJB has a satisfactory communications and engagement plan in place with the Minister advising that he has asked officials to convey these points to the IJB and intends to ensure they are acted upon.
Rhoda Grant said “The communities affected by this proposal want the decision called in by Scottish Ministers. What they have got instead is a weak plea for assurances that all will be well with the new proposal.
“The Minister says that he is keen to ensure that concerns from the local community and other health care professionals are addressed in full. The views of service users must be heard and the views of health care professionals simply must be adhered to. They know what service provision is adequate, and what is not. Outreach services cannot meet all the needs of patients at a distance.
Mrs Grant concluded “I had hoped for a more robust response from the Scottish Government given the strength of local opposition and I will again ask for a full enquiry to be carried out and for an islands impact assessment to be carried out before this deeply worrying proposal is allowed to go any further.”