South Scotland MSP and Shadow Health Minister Colin Smyth has accused NHS Dumfries and Galloway of showing contempt for the community in North West Dumfries after members of the Health Board voted on Monday 7 August to close Lochside Dental Clinic- the last NHS salaried dentist in the region.
Colin Smyth said:
“People understand that the Scottish Government are trying to force local Health Boards down this route by encouraging them to close NHS salaried dentists in favour of supporting private dentists who take on NHS patients, but I suspect local people will be appalled that NHS services are being cut in favour of supporting what is essentially the private sector. A lack of funding from the Scottish Government has also left NHS Dumfries and Galloway with a £20m blackhole 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 our 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 echoed the disgust at the closure decision. Councillor Nicholson said:
“This is a real blow to the community in North West Dumfries. 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. The Health Board have been determined to close this dental practise for some time which is why they banned anyone registering for the past four years. Given that there are now no dental clinics anywhere in the town north of the River Nith, and no health care facilities in the heart of North West Dumfries at all, you have to question NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s commitment to the area”.