Concern about dental health care in Islands

editorial image

The Western Isles Constituency Labour Party (CLP) has given its full support for the three-site option for delivering dental services across Berneray, North Uist, Grimsay, Benbecula, South Uist and Eriskay.

Public consultations held in November last year in Lochboisdale, Benbecula and Carinish all agreed on retaining three dental sites.

This stance has been backed by the seven Community Councils from Berneray to Eriskay and by the Uist Locality Planning Group.

The Western Isles CLP has called on the local Integrated Joint Board (IJB) to heed the unanimous opinion of consultees about dental provision across the Uists and the Scottish Government to adequately fund the NHS to meet the clearly demonstrated needs and non-party political decisions of islands’ communities.

The Labour group added: “Any other decision of the IJB would be a contradiction of its own Policy Statements that ‘Your Views Matter’.”

The Western Isles Constituency Labour Party met on 17th March and discussed the present impasse within the Integrated Joint Board, Health and Social Care, with regard to a recommendation to the IJB at its last meeting that the three Dental Practices based in North Uist, Benbecula and previously at Lochboisdale, be centralised and located within Ospadal Uibhist agus Bharraigh (OUaB), Balivanich, Isle of Benbecula.

The IJB vote was split 4:4, and the final outcome is to be decided by the respective Chief Executives of NHS Western Isles and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Gordon Jamieson and Malcolm Burr.

The IJB meets again this Thursday (March 22nd).

The CLP implores all parties involved in this critical decision for patients, and staff, to be mindful of outcomes from consultations, already communicated to the IJB, all unanimously in favour of retention of a three-site option.

They concluded: “The CLP would wish to remind the IJB of its own policy document, with strong emphasis on community consultation, and a “bottom up” approach to decision making.”