New NHS practice for Lerwick
After four years without an independent NHS dentist, during which time the waiting list in Shetland has increased to more than 1,500, a new practice is finally opening in Lerwick later this year.
NHS Shetland has announced the development of a new four-surgery dental practice, which the owners predict will attract a list of 6,000 patients once it is fully operational. Because of the historic access issues on Shetland, the new business was able to take advantage of a Scottish Dental Access Initiative (SDAI) grant with the chief executive of NHS Shetland, Ralph Roberts, insisting there is sill room for another NHS-committed practice.
He said: “We are extremely pleased that a new independent dental practice will now be opening in Shetland.
“This should provide adequate capacity to address the current waiting list. We would still welcome at least one further Independent NHS committed practice in Shetland.
“Key to this and the continued effective provision of the Public Dental service will remain our ability to attract dentists to live and work in Shetland. We believe this provides great opportunities for a high quality of life in a beautiful setting and in a vibrant community with excellent facilities.”
NHS Shetland took over the patient list and staff of the former NHS practice when it closed in Autumn 2011 after the principal retired and was unable to find a successor. Mr Roberts explained: “In reviewing our dental strategy at the time, we agreed that we should not expand the number of chairs in the salaried dental service but should concentrate on trying to attract new Independent NHS practice to Shetland and new dentists to work in what is now the public dental service.”