The Oban Times - - Districts -

A WESTERN Isles MP has backed the com­mu­nity af­ter the NHS closed a den­tal clinic on Uist.

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP An­gus Bren­dan MacNeil said peo­ple on the is­land are ex­tremely an­gry fol­low­ing the clo­sure of Lochbois­dale Den­tal Clinic. He is urg­ing NHS Western Isles to lis­ten to the com­mu­nity.

Mr MacNeil said: ‘It is ex­tremely dis­ap­point­ing to see NHS Western Isles has taken this step to close Lochbois­dale Den­tal Clinic.

‘Den­tal pa­tients will now have to make a 60-mile round trip to see a den­tist. This will be very dif­fi­cult for many peo­ple, par­tic­u­larly those who de­pend on pub­lic trans­port.

‘Peo­ple in Uist are ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed and an­gry. In­stead of re­duc­ing ser­vices, NHS Western Isles must lis­ten to com­mu­ni­ties.’

A spokesman for NHS Western Isles said the de­ci­sion was made be­cause the build­ing could not have met mod­ern re­quired stan­dards, even if it was re­fur­bished.

‘The plan was to cre­ate a sec­ond surgery which in­volved in­ter­nal sig­nif­i­cant re­mod­elling,’ the spokesman said.

‘Un­for­tu­nately, the ad­vanced plan­ning for this high­lighted sub­stan­tial prob­lems with the build­ing. The planned work there­fore could not pro­ceed on the ad­vice of our ex­perts and those funds were re­as­signed to the clinic in Tar­bert, Isle of Har­ris, which was at that time was in un­sat­is­fac­tory tem­po­rary accommodation.

‘Fur­ther work on Lochbois­dale was there­fore halted pend­ing a full re­view of den­tal ser­vice de­liv­ery in the Uists, as in­vest­ment and mod­erni­sa­tion had also been planned for the Uist and Barra Hos­pi­tal.

‘The risk as­so­ci­ated with the build­ing has now, fol­low­ing fur­ther as­sess­ment, passed the point of be­ing as­sessed as man­age­able.

‘The Uist and Barra Hos­pi­tal has proved much more pro­tracted than hoped, de­lay­ing in­vest­ment in our Uist den­tal ser­vices.’

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