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Hebrides News


Dental registration figures distorted

16 April 2017

Concerns have been raised after widely wrong figures masked the low numbers of people registered with a Western Isles dentist.


Claims that 80% of islanders have a dentist are grossly inaccurate.


The true figure is 53.2% which means only about half of people living in the Outer Hebrides have access to regular dental treatment.


Many patients in Lewis are forced to travel to the mainland to see a dentist as waiting lists are full up.


Stornoway’s modern £4.7 million dental centre with its seven purpose built surgeries plus five training surgeries is underused after half the number of dentists left.


Western Isles NHS denies distorting the statistics, saying out the misleading information was published NHS Scotland’s information services division.


It appears people on waiting list for registration are incorrectly included in the data.


Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, said: “This distortion reflects the confusion surrounding the Government’s statistics and indeed their legislation.”


Government constraints have created “difficulties attracting and retaining dentists,” she added.


“The situation facing dental patients in Stornoway is desperate given the figures we are seeing now and the difficulties in attracting and retaining dentists, and I fear that the SNP is trying to push down the road towards private dentistry in the Islands.”


“This, in conjunction with the unacceptable situation surrounding the sudden announcement to close Lochboisdale dental practice, just seems to be adding to the pain and suffering of those seeking a normal dental service on the Islands.”