MSP welcomes further consideration of Uist dental proposals

6 January 2017

Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has welcomed the decision by the Western Isles Integration Joint Board (IJB) not to proceed immediately to support the recommendation of the paper on the redesign of dental services in Uist which was put to board members on 22 December.

The paper, recommending advancement to a single dental hub based in the Uist and Barra Hospital in Benbecula, had been marked ‘For Approval’ despite the outcome of an earlier Options Appraisal Event which was attended by community representatives, patients, stakeholders and staff members being to maintain a three site option. 

Concerns about accessibility issues, including transport arrangements to the new hub, were raised.  Dental facilities in Lochmaddy, Lochboisdale and Liniclate School would be closed as a result of the centralisation of services to Benbecula.

 Rhoda Grant said “I appealed to board members of the IJB to rethink the matter after concerns were raised with me from a number of sources.

"I am pleased to be advised that members decided not to proceed immediately with the recommendation of the paper and that the board will revisit the matter in February.

 “This gives more time for the full implications of such a decision to be properly considered. 

"If elderly people, and indeed, young families, have to spend more time or money to access dental services, many will choose not to do so.

Mrs Grant concluded, “I very much hope the views of the Uist communities will be taken on board and this proposal will be redrawn to allow dental services to stay within the dispersed communities as they are at present.”