Changes to Stornoway dental arrangements

New arrangements will be in place for around 3,000 Western Isles dental patients from the end of July, following the closure of the independent dental practice, ‘RK Purvis WI Dental Practice’.

Dr Robert Purvis took over Mr Kenneth Macdonald’s Independent Dental Practice at the Western Isles Dental Centre in Stornoway, following Mr MacDonald’s retirement in September 2014. Unfortunately, Dr Purvis has recently given NHS Western Isles notice that he will cease to practice from the end of July 2015.

Patients currently registered with the independent dental practice of Dr Purvis will be automatically transferred to the Health Board Public Dental Service based at the Western Isles Dental Centre in Stornoway, until another independent practice is established. There is no need for patients to contact the practice to transfer their registration. Patients registered with any other dentists at the Western Isles Dental Centre will not be affected.

It is anticipated that the establishment of an independent practice will take a minimum of six months. New NHS Health Board dental staff have been recruited to ensure that appointments will continue to be available to patients of Dr Purvis in the meantime.

NHS dental services in Scotland are provided by either independent dental practitioners or salaried Public Dental Service dentists (employed directly by Health Boards). The majority of NHS dental services across Scotland are provided by independent dentists, however in remote and rural areas, the dental services are often provided directly by Health Boards. In the Western Isles, the majority of people (around 18,500 people) are registered with a Health Board Public Dental Service dentist, with less than 3,000 registered with independent practitioners.

NHS Western Isles has sought expressions of interest from independent practitioners to establish new dental practices in the Western Isles.

Interest in establishing a new independent practice in the Western Isles has already been expressed, and NHS Western Isles anticipates that this process will be successful.

NHS Western Isles Chief Administrative Dental Officer, John Lyon, explained: “Following notification by Dr Purvis that he will cease trading in the Western Isles at the end of July, NHS Western Isles took immediate steps to plan interim arrangements for patients registered with the independent practice, to ensure continuity of service for patients. We have been able to increase our complement of dentists, and now also have staff with advanced skills in the new Teach and Treat Dental Centre in Stornoway, including Dental Therapists and Dental Hygienists, which will enable us to support this increase in NHS-registered patients.

“We have already begun the process of automatically transferring patients from the independent practice to the Public Dental Service list, and we will make every effort to ensure that patients are moved through the system as quickly as possible. Patients can continue to contact the Western Isles Dental Centre as and when they require an appointment, but they do not need to contact us to transfer their registration.”

Any patients with a dental emergency can continue to access the in-hours (9am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday) and out-of-hours dental service provided by the Health Board, as normal. This can be accessed by contacting the Dental Centre in-hours and NHS 24 on 111, outside office hours.