Highlands & Islands

New dental 'hub' for Uist within 18 months

Dental tools Image copyright Getty Images

A new dental "hub" serving patients in Uist is to be introduced within the next 18 months, NHS Western Isles has said.

Surgeries at Lochmaddy in North Uist and Liniclate in Benbecula are to be shut, but will remain open until the hub at Balivanich in Benbecula opens.

NHS Western Isles said the new facility would operate outreach provision for older people and disabled people.

This part of the service will provide dental care in homes or a venue nearby.

The new hub will be located at Uist and Barra Hospital.

NHS Western Isles said there was also a wider long-term plan to bring Benbecula Medical Practice and Scottish Ambulance Service personnel into the hub as well.

Centralising dental services has been criticised by Uist and Barra independent councillors.

They were angry about a loss of local services.

The change would affect about 3,500 people who would face journeys from Eriskay, South Uist, Berneray and North Uist.

For patients in Eriskay and Berneray travelling to Balivanich would involve a round trip of as much as 70 miles (112 km).

Members of the Western Isles Integration Joint Board, which oversees health care services, failed to reach a majority decision on the future shape of Uist dental services following a vote.

The chief executives of NHS Western Isles and local authority Comhairle nan Eilean Siar were asked to resolve the dispute and agreed that the central hub be created.

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