Thanks to the opening of a new dental practice in Portree, people living in Skye and Lochalsh will have better access to NHS dental services.
Portree Dental Care’s team of three dentists will be located in the same premises as the NHS Highland’s Public Dental Service Clinic at Sraid An Eorna.
A significant number of patients from the health board clinic, principally those not prioritised as having additional needs, will now be transferred to the new dental practice..
In a letter to these transferred patients, NHS Highland's Clinical Dental Director, John Lyon said: "As of 13th March, 2017 your registration for NHS dental services will be transferred to Portree Dental Care, a new dental practice which is opening in the same premises as the Portree Dental Clinic. Portree Dental Care will be run by dentist Mr Zahid Ahmad."
Mr Ahmad has relocated to Skye with his family and will be joined at the practice by fellow dentists, Muhammad Anwar and Rana Osman.
Announcing the new service, Portree Dental Care said: "The practice offers predominantly NHS General Dental Services. Our aim is ensuring affordable, accessible and quality routine dental care and emergency dental services for everyone in Portree and throughout the Isle of Skye.
"We have extended our opening hours to make it more convenient for all age groups. We have no post code restrictions to provide dental services."
In a move to further reassure those patients being transferred, NHS Highland added: “You will be entitled to all the same NHS treatments that you received with the Public Dental Service team and if you pay for your NHS treatment then the same charges will apply."
The move is good news for local patients, because recent difficulties in recruiting and retaining dentists at the Public Dental Service Clinic resulted in a waiting list for appointments. The NHS Highland team had to prioritise appointments for those patients requiring emergency care and routine appointments for children as well as adult patients with additional needs - for example dependant elderly people and those with significant learning disabilities and mental health problems.
Alex Fraser, NHS Highland’s dental service development manager said: “This is great news. Our focus has always been to provide a sustainable and accessible dental service for the people in North Skye that will help to maintain and improve the oral health of all living within the local community. The new dental practice opening at Sraid An Eorna will help us enormously to do just that.”