Patients forced to wait a year for an NHS dentist appointment

NHS dentistThe Hebridean islands of Jura and Islay have been left with one part-time NHS dentist meaning patients are being told to ‘come back in a year’.

The only full-time dentist on the two islands retired a year ago and has not been replaced.

This has left the remaining part-time dentist having to prioritise children and those who are in pain.

NHS Highland has, however, said dental services on Islay met ‘all the necessary infection control requirements’.

One local resident and a retired general practitioner, Pat McGran, told the BBC: ‘The waiting room is your car.

‘The receptionist has to come out and get you.

‘A man and wife team took on the job in 1998 on the understanding that facilities would be upgraded but that never happened.

‘Facilities are not just not attractive and the Community Health Partnership has told us there’s no funding to upgrade them.’

Dental services are provided from a portable cabin in the car park of the Bowmore Hospital.

Despite there being interest in the full-time position, it is believed the dental facilities on the island has been a factor in the recruitment of a new dentist.

Those who would like a check-up currently have to take a ferry to Tarbert or Lochgilpead.

A spokesperson for NHS Highland said: ‘Dental services on Islay are provided from a well-resourced facility that meets all the necessary infection control requirements.

‘At the same time, however we do recognise that the actual building itself is not ideal and we have been investigating the possibility of providing these services from within the hospital building.’

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