31 October 2017
Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has said the decision to close dental clinics in the Uists is wrong and will be potentially damaging to people’s oral health.
The closure of the clinic in Lochboisdale in April of this year, and the decision now to close the clinics in Lochmaddy and Liniclate and centralise services in Benbecula means that people are being forced to make 60 mile round trips for treatment.
Mrs Grant believes this could result in people not having the time, or the money, to make these trips and that oral health will suffer as a result.
She supported campaigners against the closures earlier this year and made representation to NHS Western Isles, the IJB and the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Shona Robison.
Commenting on this decision, Rhoda said, “This is a wrong decision. Rural healthcare services are being cut all over the north and it simply has to stop.
“NHS boards in rural areas are being forced into making impossible decisions in a bid to balance the books.
"But these decisions will impact on the health of the nation.
"Decisions to centralise services may save the health boards money in the immediate future but long term this will rebound as people’s healthcare deteriorates due to lack of treatment."
Rhoda continued ,“Before it was closed, Lochboisdale Dental Surgery started Childsmile Week which is now being adopted by other health boards and resulted in NHS Western Isles becoming joint top in Scotland for children’s dental health.
"To now potentially lose this top spot is a retrograde step."
“I contacted the Cabinet Secretary earlier in the year about the strength of local opposition to the proposal.
"She gave me the stock reply that it was the responsibility of the health board, nothing to do with her.
"However I am pleased to see that her colleague, Alasdair Allan, has now voiced his concern about the somewhat late consultation which appears to now be taking place.
"After a weekend of protects in the north against the removal of rural health services, I would welcome Dr Allan’s help in bringing this matter again to the attention of his colleague, Shona Robison, in a bid to seek her help in providing more funds to prevent these closures from taking place.”