Harris dental service to move to Scalpay

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Western Isles Health Board today (Thursday) discussed options for the provision of Dental Services in Harris, after a notice to quit the current premises by the end of September 2011 was received by the Board.

Members considered short, medium and long term options for dental services in Harris at the meeting, and concluded that, in the short-term, the preferred option would be to temporarily relocate dental services to Scalpay Clinic whilst consultation and a feasibility study takes place to fully examine longer-term options for the permanent relocation of services. Scalpay Clinic will be refurbished to provide temporary accommodation for the dental services, and issues of transport to Scalpay will also be investigated.

NHS Western Isles received notice to quit the current dental premises in the Old Hostel in Tarbert from Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. The Council is planning to demolish the Old Hostel as part of the schools programme.

The Tarbert Clinic currently operates Monday to Thursday, 9am-5.30pm, with out of hours care being provided in Stornoway via NHS24 triage.

In the short-term, the options presented to the Board were:

The service is continued from a dental caravan located in the Doctors Surgery in Tarbert.

Rental of a mobile self contained dental unit from another health authority to visit Tarbert on selected days.

Refurbishment of the Scalpay Clinic.

Ceasing dental services in Harris, with domiciliary care being delivered when required.

Considering the timescales involved, temporary relocation to Scalpay was recommended as the only feasible short-term option to maintain a local service, due to the planning conditions concerned with locating a dental caravan or mobile dental unit at the Doctors Surgery. It was, however, stressed that longer term options would need to be considered as a priority.

A consultation process will take place to engage with the local community on longer term options for the dental service. A dental hygienist service will also be available in Scalpay; a service that had not previously been available in Tarbert. Regular reviews of the suitability of Scalpay Clinic in the short-term will take place to ensure the service is acceptable.

Medium and long term options which will be considered in consultation with the local community include:

Providing the service from a modular building at the Doctors Surgery or another location (medium term)

Purchasing a mobile self-contained dental unit (location would have to have access to toilet facilities and must be DDA compliant (medium term)

Providing the service from the Doctors House or a new build (long term)