The Western Isles Integration Joint Board (IJB), which is responsible for the planning of a range of health and social care services, is currently considering how the new model for dental care will be provided in the Uists and is hosting three public engagement events during November.
Already over the last year, there has been engagement with staff, stakeholders and community representatives to discuss proposed changes and following a detailed options appraisal process, with the IJB deciding that its preferred model for the delivery of dental care in the Uists is to have a single service operating from a renovated Uist and Barra Hospital.
This will involve the closure of the existing clinics in Lochmaddy and Liniclate (the clinic in Lochboisdale has already closed because of concerns about the quality of the building) and relocating all dental staff into a central hub within Uist and Barra Hospital. The IJB believes this will result in a higher quality clinical environment and a more sustainable service.
Ron Culley, Chief Officer of the IJB, commented "Recognising that we are moving to a single site, we would operate an outreach service to disabled people and frail older people, thereby offering a more responsive arrangement for people with mobility problems by providing home visits.
"We believe that there are numerous additional benefits to this model, and we want to use this engagement process to describe those to the public. We are also mindful that some people may be unsure of the new model and want to understand people's views as we move through this process. A key point we want to get across is that these changes will enable our existing clinical services at Uist and Barra Hospital to be substantially improved."
The IJB is clear that its preferred model will bring a host of benefits, including:
- the development of a single dental team, ensuring better levels of cover during periods of leave or ill-health
- a team environment which provides greater levels of peer support, assisting with recruitment and retention and quality of care
- on-site support from other health and social care professionals in relation to complex care needs
- local sterilisation of instruments and ready access to X-rays not possible in the existing clinics
- a visiting oral surgery service.
Members of the public are invited to respond to the consultation document available to view/download via the IJB website at www.ijbwesternisles.scot - or by participating at one of three public engagement sessions.
The engagement sessions will be held as follows:
Tuesday 21st November - Talla Chidhe, Lochboisdale, Isle of South Uist, from 7pm-9pm (PLEASE NOTE CHANGE OF VENUE)
Thursday 23rd November - Dark Island Hotel, Isle of Benbecula, from 1pm-3pm
Thursday 23rd November - Carinish Hall, Isle of North Uist, from 7-9pm