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Caithness News Bulletins June 2004

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Great News for Caithness Dental Services
NHS Highland is delighted with the news that a new multiple surgery dental facility is to be built in Caithness. This, coupled with NHS Highland’s plans to improve access to dental services in North Highland, will be a great boost to the area.

The new facility has been made possible by NHS Highland’s success in bidding for capital funding from the Scottish Executive who have recently authorised the introduction of additional dentists for the area. The plan will provide a modern clinical environment within which there will be opportunities to train Dentists and Dental Therapists. This exciting new development will hopefully attract Dental Practitioners to the area which, in the past, has had difficulty in recruiting and retaining dental staff.

Wick Business Park - New Dental Training Facility

Mr. Robert Nicol, Senior Dentist, in the area said:
‘Not only should this modern five surgery dental unit encourage prospective Dentists to live and work in the area, but will also allow us to work with vocational trainees and outreach students from the major dental hospitals. This is a marvellous opportunity that will be of great benefit to the population of Caithness. Members of the Caithness Dental Think Tank have been extremely supportive of the bid and will be involved, throughout the process, with local dental teams.’

Area Convenor David Flea a member of the Dental Think Tank was delighted that there had been such a great outcome from all the work of the team in coming up with a new approach to tackle the problems faced by the public in obtaining dental treatment.  He said "I am absolutely delighted at the outcome of our work. It shows what can be done when people work in partnership to make things happen and get new ideas from everyone concerned."

At present there are two dental teams working in Caithness, one headed up by Robert Nicol and the other by a locum dentist, Simon Shepherd. The Scottish Executive have authorised the recruitment of a further two posts, with a third in the pipeline. A Dental Think Tank was formed early in 2003, with membership consisting of representatives of the local community and health professionals. The Think Tank who met to consider the difficulties in recruitment and retention of dental teams associated with lack of access are delighted to see their hard work paying off.

George Bruce, Chairman of the Caithness and Northern Sutherland Health Forum said:
‘As a member of the Dental Think Tank, I am delighted to hear that NHS Highland have been successful in their bid for monies for the new facility and this is a welcome development. I also welcome the intention to have more Dentists in Caithness and look forward to that happening at an early date.’

The building was put up by Caithness and Sutherland Enterprise at the new Business Park to ensure that facilities were available for new enterprises wishing to locate near Wick.  The new dental training unit will take over the entire building

New Facilities For Dental Services Across Scotland
Over 60,000 people across Scotland are set to benefit from better access to NHS dentistry, thanks to Executive funding for 20 new and revamped dental premises.

The £2.35 million will help to provide 14 brand new and 6 redeveloped state of the art dental facilities across Scotland.  The projects, which are likely to result in the appointment of around 12 new salaried dentists, will include:

-The creation of a new four surgery dental facility in Banff, Aberdeenshire, providing around 17,000 new appointments for the area each year
 - Five new surgeries in Wick, which will provide placements for dental graduates to encourage more dentists to choose careers in remote and rural areas.
 - The extension of dental facilities in Pollok and Springburn in Glasgow, with the potential to take on 2000 children not currently included on a dental list
- A new four surgery dental access centre in Kirkcaldy, employing at least four new salaried dentists and providing training for dental therapists from Dundee Dental School.

Deputy Health Minister, Tom McCabe said:
"We know that there are problems accessing NHS dentistry in many areas of Scotland.  These projects will make a real impact in improving access to NHS dentistry in the communities they serve. 

"As well as providing both routine and specialist dental services, including improving access for people with disabilities and special needs.  Many will provide vital facilities for trainee dentists.  In remote and rural areas this may encourage more dentists to take up permanent posts.  It may also provide a model to be used in other areas of Scotland.

"New salaried dentists will also be employed in some of the premises, allowing more patients to access NHS dental care.

"This brings the total amount invested in improving access to NHS dentistry since 2002 to over £15 million.  This money has helped to provide incentives for dentists to practice in rural areas as well as encourage development of training facilities, as well as upgrade premises.  However these projects are only part of the picture.  They are not the whole solution.

"Our dental consultation, Modernising Dental Services, which ended last month, looked at ways in which we can improve and sustain access to NHS dentistry in the future.

 "We have had a significant number of responses to the consultation and need to ensure that these are fully analysed.  Later this year I will outline our response to the consultation, including the action we will take to help improve access to NHS dentistry and make a real difference to Scotland's oral health record." 

The full list of successful bidders is below:
Argyll and Clyde will receive £60,000 to upgrade the existing dental surgery at Dykebar Hospital in order to provide a range of dental services to in, out and day patients with a wide range of special needs

Ayrshire and Arran will receive £140,000 to support a programme of small scale adaptations of dental premises in 12 clinics, health centres and community hospitals. This will provide the NHS Board area with a network of DDA compliant dental surgeries.

In Fife £250,000 will provide a new Dental Access Centre in Kirkcaldy.  The four surgery centre will provide general dental services, emergency dental service clinics and training facilities for dental therapists from Dundee dental school.

Forth Valley will receive £60,000 to provide a new emergency dental care facility in Falkirk Royal Infirmary, linked with A&E and the existing GP out of hours service.

In Glasgow £400,000 will enable the redevelopment and extension of dental surgery facilities within the new multi-agency Pollok project, which brings a range of health services under one roof.  In Springburn £150,000 will provide a new facility focusing on care for children at high risk of developing dental disease

In Banff, £500,000 will provide a new four surgery unit along with one hygienists' unit and one dedicated X-Ray unit within the hospital grounds.

In Wick, £340,000 will provide a new 5 surgery facility which will also provide placements for dental graduates.

In Lanarkshire £30,000 will upgrade Coathill Hospital dental surgery to improve access for people with special needs.

In Orkney £261,250  will help to upgrade Stromness Dental Centre

In Shetland £155,000 will expand the current dental service on Whalsay, relocating it within the redeveloped Whalsay Health Centre

Statistics on NHSScotland dental statistics were released today by the Information and Statistics Division of the Common Services Agency.  The statistics can be accessed at www.show.scot.nhs.uk

Responses to the Consultation, 'Modernising Dental Services' are currently undergoing independent analysis.  A formal response will be issued in late summer.