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Flagship dental centre is opened        4/2/11



►   New dental centre pictures



Stornoway’s new dental centre has been officially opened by the isles’ health boards’ new chairman Dr Neil Galbraith.


The flagship £4.7 million building is one of the most modern in Scotland. It came in under budget and four months ahead of schedule.


It was built to tackle the huge waiting list crisis experienced by islanders in the past to get registered with a dentist.


Located adjacent to Western Isles Hospital in Stornoway, it took Laing O’Rourke construction workers just nine months to complete and is the health boards most  significant healthcare development of the past decade.


Islanders can get a tour of the premises at an open day on Saturday.


Consisting of 12 purpose built surgeries, five of which are specially adapted for training, the two storey development provides spacious and modern facilities.


The main reception point is on the ground floor beside working surgeries while training facilities are upstairs.


The training centre will be used by NHS Education for Scotland in association with Scottish universities and colleges.


One special feature of the state-of-the-art technology is computer generated dental patients, designed by Glasgow School of Art, who respond in “agony” when jabbed in sensitive spots.


The virtual reality dental training centre gives students plenty of practice to drill teeth on simulated patients before let loose on real people.


The 3-D technology mimics patients in the dentist chair getting their teeth drilled, cavities filled and tooth decay probed and feeds back sensations experienced when


It’s hoped that dental students from across Scotland would stay on as qualified professionals after training in the Hebrides.


NHS Western Isles chief executive Gordon Jamieson says the centre exceeds expectations, and contributes to the Board’s ambition to be a world leader in the application of telehealth.


He said: “Western Isles Dental Centre compares very favourably with modern dental facilities elsewhere in Scotland in terms of modern technology.”


HS Western Isles Chairman Dr Neil Galbraith said: “The Board is delighted with the new Dental Centre which provides the islands of Lewis and Harris with modern dental facilities capable of improving the dental health of the local population, through the delivery of first class dental care and treatment.


“The project was completed well ahead of time and within budget; a credit to all of those involved.


Malcolm Wright, Chief Executive of NHS Education for Scotland, said: "This is a world class centre and NHS Education for Scotland looks forward to helping to deliver quality education for a healthier Western Isles."


He added: “With students both treating patients and living in the community, we hope that some will decide to work in the Western Isles after graduating.”


He said: “Our involvement in Stornoway emphasises our commitment to multi-disciplinary training and education in areas outside the central belt. 


“The therapy school development is especially exciting as the school is run by the University of the Highlands and Islands with other therapy school campuses at Inverness and Dumfries.