Monday, 10 November 2008

Gibson welcomes dental plan for Easter Ross

News release
Immediate release


Highlands and Islands SNP MSP Rob Gibson has welcomed the news that two new NHS dental premises are planned for Easter Ross.

Last week Mr Gibson questioned Health Secretary Nicol Sturgeon over NHS dentist's in the region. During the exchange Ms Sturgeon confirmed that they were plans to establish new dental premise's in Tain and Invergordon (as well as others at Portree and Grantown).

Mr Gibson said…

"This is great news for Easter Ross as well as the Highlands and Islands. It is estimated that the announcement will lead to more surgeries with many more people being able to register under NHS conditions."

"In recent years a persistent issue from many constituents is the lack of NHS Dentist's available in the area. The Cabinet Secretary's announcement shows that the issue is still very much a priority for the Scottish Government as well as NHS Highland."

"Figures released last week showed that dental registration with NHS dentist had risen 4% in Scotland. The figures also showed that the number of registrations with dentists for both adults and children are the highest since registrations were introduced in October 1990. Progress is being made but it is still ground to be made up and I am confident that the Government will make it happen."

"This announcement will see a real difference on the supply of NHS dentists in the North and West. I am sure the people of Easter Ross and beyond will welcome the fact that the centers, such as the Loch shell dental clinic in Wick, will be situated in the two towns. There will be real benefit to accrue to the area and a positive impact is sure to follow."



Transcript of Q & A From last week (06/11/08):

National Health Service Dentists (Highlands and Islands)

8. Rob Gibson (Highlands and Islands) (SNP): To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to ensure that all adults and children in Caithness and other parts of the Highlands and Islands are able to register with an NHS dentist. (S3O-4739)

The Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing (Nicola Sturgeon): Responsibility for the overall provision of NHS general dental services rests with NHS boards.

NHS Highland has already expanded its salaried dental services and has a number of other projects planned to expand services further. New dental surgeries have been established in Wick, Fort William and Inverness, and there are plans to establish new premises in Portree, Grantown, Invergordon and Tain. Those developments will result in the creation of an additional 29 dental surgeries and the registration of a minimum additional 29,000 patients under NHS arrangements.

NHS Highland is raising awareness of the grants that are available under the Scottish dental access initiative, and it has been provisionally allocated £4.14 million from the primary and community care modernisation fund.

Rob Gibson: I thank the cabinet secretary for that detailed answer. At present, there is a shortfall of graduates who are able to take up posts. For example, in Orkney, around 2.4 full-time posts are required. The figure in Caithness would probably be double that. Will the cabinet secretary give us an idea of the flow of graduates who will be able to fill the posts in the new dental premises that we are about to build?

Nicola Sturgeon: Rob Gibson raises an important point. As we expand the opportunities and the incentives for dentists to do NHS dentistry, we must ensure that the flow of dentists through education and into those posts is as smooth as possible. That is one of the key reasons why the Government took the decision to open the Aberdeen dental school. It opened on 6 October, and I am pleased to say that it has now accepted its first intake of students. That will increase the number of students training in Scotland, so in time it will increase the number of graduates.

In the 2007-08 academic session, 492 students across Scotland applied for the dental bursary.

That will ensure a future stock of dentists for NHS dentistry.

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