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Premises have been found for a new dental practice in Lochgilphead as recruitment problems continue at Mid Argyll Hospital dental suite.
Attempts to recruit a replacement for a senior dental officer in Mid Argyll Hospital who retired in November last year proved unsuccessful. Instead,a locum dentist has been employed to support the clinic one day per week.
But plans are also underway to open a new dental practice in Lochgilphead.
A spokesperson for Argyll and Bute Health and Social Care Partnership said: ‘In October 2018 the Scottish Government approved the offer of a Scottish Dental Access Initiative Grant (SDAI) for the Lochgilphead area. This grant supports an independent practitioner to open a General Dental Practice in the area.
‘Tarbert Dental Practice was successful and has formally accepted the offer.
‘Premises have been identified in Lochgilphead and plans for the new independent general dental practice will begin shortly. It is anticipated that planning applications and building work should start soon and the expected completion date will be early 2020.’
Pressure on the remaining dentist at Mid Argyll Hospital is such that the authorities continue to prioritise emergencies, child patients, those with orthodontic appliances and patients within the high risk categories with medical issues, physical and mental impairment.
The HSCP spokesman offered some reassurance, saying: ‘We will endeavour to continue to provide locum dental officer cover to support the remaining dentist until the new independent general dental practice is open.’
Scottish Government regulations require that the new practice will be obliged to provide 80 per cent of dental treatment under the NHS, so any private work would be limited.