Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, is welcoming the intervention of the Scottish Government and the Scottish Health Council in the Uist dentistry situation.
Mrs Grant has been supporting the communities in Uist who have been fighting the proposal to centralise dental services in Benbecula since the plan was first aired in 2016. The MSP asked the Scottish Government and the Scottish Health Council to call in the decision after it was finally made by the Chief Executives of NHS Western Isles and the Comhairle in September last year. She has been told that the Scottish Government is sending the CDO (Chief Dental Officer) to visit with the IJB to discuss the outreach element of the proposal and the Scottish Health Council is also seeking a meeting with the IJB to understand more about the status of the decision and planned next steps.
Mrs Grant said “The Minister for Public Health, Joe FitzPatrick, has made it clear to me that he believes the existing service provision is not sustainable. I know many service users in Uist disagree wholeheartedly with this stance. However what the Minister has said is that the effectiveness of the outreach element of the new proposals will be a key issue and that he feels the most appropriate intervention is to closely monitor the development of this element before any escalation is required. As such, he is sending the CDO to visit with the IJB and report back to him.
“The Scottish Health Council has advised me that they are not aware of this going through the NHS Board’s governance structure, that it has been progressed through the IJB’s governance structure, and as such they cannot consider calling the decision in. They advise however, that they are seeking a meeting with the IJB to understand more about the status of the decision and planned next steps.”
She concluded “I am pleased these meetings are to take place. The fears of the communities in Uist have been ignored for too long and it is right that this proposal is properly monitored at a higher level. I very much hope that the flaws with this proposal become evident and that the decision will then be escalated to Scottish Ministers.
“I will be keeping a very close eye on developments.”