Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan recently met with Scottish Government Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, Joe Fitzpatrick MSP, to discuss controversial proposals that would see dental services in Uist centralised to a single hub operating out of Ospadal Uibhist agus Bharraigh in Balivanich.

The Western Isles Integrated Joint Board recently announced that after a year and a half of consideration it would be proceeding with the hub model after the Chief Executives of the Comhairle and NHS Western Isles came to a joint decision on the issue.

The change in service would mean the closure of the dental clinics in Lochmaddy and Liniclate, with the clinic in Lochboisdale already having been closed in April 2017, necessitating round trips of up to 70 miles for some Uist residents.

The proposal has been met with strong local opposition since its inception and the local MSP has continued to raise this matter on behalf of people in Uist.

Alasdair Allan MSP commented:

“This was a useful and productive meeting where I was able to outline the various concerns of communities in Uist when it comes to these proposals. I am grateful for the Minister taking the time to listen to my concerns and for his commitments to press the IJB and Health Board for significantly more detail on the plans being put forward.

“I cannot ignore the concerns of health professionals, and the warnings from dental professionals that will this move will adversely affect oral health outcomes for people in Uist, particularly the most vulnerable groups.

“Ultimately, I do not believe this kind of service change can go ahead with the present level of local opposition, which is all but unanimous in Uist. I have asked whether the Scottish Government is in a position to call these proposals in or, failing that, establish an Independent Scrutiny Panel to independently examine what is being put forward.”

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