Anger as dental clinic closure confirmed
NHS Dumfries and Galloway set to close the final public dental service clinic in the region
The decision to close a salaried dental clinic in an area of multiple deprivation in Dumfries has been met with a mixture of disbelief and anger among the local community.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway said in a statement that, following a meeting on 7 August, it has approved the “complete withdrawal of routine NHS General Dental Services at Lochside Dental Clinic”.
John White, who himself worked in the NHS for more than 40 years, has been registered at the centre for 10 years. He said: “I’m disgusted. It just shows a lack of care for patients. The drive is to save money, even though money is supposedly there to keep it going. It is a totally wrong decision that should be reversed.”
This decision is an unnecessary attack on one of the most deprived communities in our region and shows utter contempt for the local community by members of the health board
South Scotland MSP and Shadow Health Minister Colin Smyth
He claims that low-income families and people with mobility issues simply won’t travel into Dumfries itself for care. He said: “They are all being told they will be directed to an independent contractor in Dumfries but they won’t go, it is as simple as that. There will be a lack of dental care for a whole community and, as a result, it will lead to extra expense for the hospital to deal with eventually.”
South Scotland MSP and Shadow Health Minister Colin Smyth said: “A lack of funding from the Scottish Government has also left NHS Dumfries and Galloway with a £20 million black hole but the local NHS have already agreed funding for the clinic for the year ahead. So, overall, this decision is an unnecessary attack on one of the most deprived communities in our region and shows utter contempt for the local community by members of the health board”.
North West Dumfries Councillor Ronnie Nicholson said: “This is a real blow to the community in my constituency. I have no doubt whatsoever that it will mean a lower take-up in dental care by people in the area, where we already have huge health inequalities.
“Given that there are now no dental clinics anywhere in the town north of the River Nith, and no healthcare facilities in the heart of north west Dumfries at all, you have to question NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s commitment to the area.”
The statement from the council continued by saying: “The NHS board is committed to ensuring that patients of the clinic continue to access NHS dental care.
“It is also focused on supporting improvements in the oral health of those living in the Lochside and Lincluden area through a range of approaches with key partners, as detailed in the recommendations of the Lochside and Lincluden Oral Health Needs Assessment Report.”