Practices’ grants in the spotlight

NHS Grampian is reviewing whether practices receiving grants were ineligible

28 July, 2015 / infocus

An Aberdeen dentist who waged a one-man campaign over non-compliance of grant conditions by new practices in the city, has welcomed NHS Grampian’s decision to take action.

Three years ago, Ross McLelland (pictured), principal dentist at Waverley Dental Health Practice in Aberdeen, spotted a drop in business. He discovered that the health board had funded several new practices in the local area with money from the Scottish Dental Access Initiative (SDAI).

However, when he started digging, he found that one practice wasn’t eligible as it was a limited company and began a campaign for an investigation.

I believe that NHS Grampian is guilty of mismanagement of public funds and I seriously doubt their commitment to tightening their scrutiny of these contracts

Now, the board has confirmed that five practices are being looked at and named them as Britedent, West End Dental, Portlethen Dental Care, Green Dental and Deeside Dental Care.

McLelland told Scottish Dental magazine: “I’m not against the SDAI grant initiative. In principal it’s a good scheme if used appropriately, but there are strict terms and conditions attached, and I was astonished at how lax NHS Grampian was being.

“We now have overcapacity in Aberdeen, with one committed NHS practice closing and several other practices downsizing. The west end of Aberdeen already had seven practices, so you have to question why three new SDAI practices with a minimum capacity for 24,000 patients were funded within the same square mile. There was no business case for this.

“I believe that NHS Grampian is guilty of mismanagement of public funds and I seriously doubt its commitment to tightening its scrutiny of these contracts.

“All these potential breaches were highlighted to NHS Grampian years ago, and little has been done. There should have been a more robust process in place from the very start – it’s frankly embarrassing for NHS Grampian to be promising better compliance in future. It’s even possible that this is a pattern repeated across other health boards in Scotland.”

A spokesman for NHS Grampian said: “NHS Grampian is completing a comprehensive review of the monitoring processes for SDAI grants. This will be both prospective and retrospective, resulting in a more robust process that will ensure better compliance with the grant conditions.

“These investigations are ongoing and it would be inappropriate for us to comment further.”

Tags: Ineligible Grants Review / NHS Grampian / Ross McLelland

Categories: News

1 Comment

  • Donald B McNicol says:

    In principal I support the SDAI, although I would need to agree with Mr McLelland that these grants have not necessarily been awarded in areas where there was a real shortage of NHS dentists. In the Falkirk, Grangemouth, Polmont, Larbert and Stenhousemuir areas whilst we have not been impacted to the extent that the West End of Aberdeen with patient shortages the award of several of these grants to new practices has certainly impacted on patient numbers. These grants in this area were awarded where at the time of the “access” crisis there were still established practices taking on new registrations. I would agree that there does need to be some clarity and transparency to demonstrate that these practices meet or have met the criteria to be awarded the grant in the first instance and that they satisfy the conditions of the grant in achieving the targets they were set to satisfy the terms and conditions of the award.

Scottish Dental magazine