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Caithness News Bulletins November 2006

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NHS Highland Brings A New High Quality Dental Unit To Caithness
NHS Highland looks as if it is finally getting to grips with the shortage of dentists in the far north.  On Monday 27th November 2006 a minister will arrive in Wick and head out to Lochshell to officially open the Lochshell Dental Clinic.

There has been a growth of NHS employed dentists in Highland, employed to fill the gap left by independent dentists who decided to stop providing NHS Dental services. This has included the recruitment of Salaried Dentists, provision of fully equipped mobile dental clinics, creation of Dental surgeries in a number of hospitals and health centres, and the setting up of a Dental Helpline to assist members of the public in accessing NHS Dental care.

This has undoubtedly been a difficult time for people awaiting treatment or unable to access a dentist over the last few years.  NHS Highland is finally beginning to get to grips with what has been a very difficult problem in that dentists were just not available in the UK and the need to put in place everything that might make it attractive to come and work in Caithness.  The new service will not immediately be able to take on everyone but it will make a substantial contribution to getting more people seen and improving the oral health of the population in the north of Scotland

The New Dental Unit Is Situated At The Wick Business Park At Lochshell

The new unit has an impressive array of highly qualified staff -

Cathy Lush, Clinical Dental Manager, NHS Highland
Cathy Lush qualified in London in 1978. As an undergraduate, she was awarded the Stephen De Hey prize in restorative dentistry.  Following qualification, she worked in the hospital dental service for a year, initially in London and then at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Buckinghamshire.  Cathy entered General Dental Practice in 1980, working in practices in Bristol, Exeter, Cardiff and Leicester before moving to Inverness in 1991, as her husband took up a Consultant post at Raigmore Hospital.

Cathy entered the Community Dental Service on her move to Inverness, wishing to take advantage of the flexibility of a school term contract as her family were still young.

Cathy was appointed a Senior Dental Officer in 1997 and Clinical Dental Manager in 2000. During this time she was admitted to the general dental Council’s specialist list in paediatric dentistry as well embarking on an MBA in Healthcare management through the University of Stirling, successfully gaining her degree in 1999. She also embarked on her Masters in Public Health in Glasgow gaining this qualification in 2001.

Cathy has led the service through a period of intense change, integrating community and salaried dental services within the two former NHS Highland trusts into a Highland wide service ( except Argyle and Bute). She has led the development of the service including an ‘in hours’ emergency dental service and the establishment of sedation services as an alternative to general anaesthesia for anxious children and adults.

Cathy is currently on the Delivering the Future – Strategic Clinical Leadership programme, where she hopes that the insight and knowledge gained from this programme will assist her in influencing the further modernisation of dental services within Highland, across the North of Scotland and eventually perhaps nationally.

She is currently leading a project on the development of sustainable out of hours dental services for patients in Highland as her strategic change project and is enjoying applying some of the skills the programme has developed in her for the benefit of patients.

Robert Nicol, Senior Dentist, Caithness Team
Rob has 25years experience in dentistry. Having been a Community Dentist and Senior House Officer in Lothian he moved to Caithness in 1991 where he progressed to a Senior Post. He is an examiner for the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh and a is a fellow of the RCPS Glasagow.

Rob provides care for children and vulnerable adults e.g medically compromised and assists with the visiting Consultant OMFS service. He has completed the Training for Trainers course with a view to becoming a GPT trainee in August 2007. Rob also is the mentor for the 2 Rural Fellows appointed in August 2006 to Caithness.

Keith Finn, Senior Dentist, Caithness Team
Keith had 4 years experience of general dental practice before joining the Community Dental Service in Merseyside where he developed his skills in Special Care Dentistry and IV Sedation whilst progressing to the position of Senior Dental Officer.

Keith took up the position of Senior Dentist (SDO/SSGDP) in Caithness in January 2005. He is involved in the provision of care for vulnerable patient groups e.g. medically compromised etc as well as the provision of routine care and dental registration for the wider community. Keith has also recently undertaken the Training for Trainers as he will become a GPT trainer in August 2007. He will be working part time within the new facility whilst continuing to practise in Thurso and Caithness General Hospital.

Myra O’Boyle
Myra qualified in 2004 and undertook her GPT training in Bute, East Kilbride and Glasgow Dental Hospital. She then took up the Caithness Rural Fellow/SGDP post in August 2006. Myra is studying for an MSc in Dental Public Health. For the SGDP element of her post she delivers services to children in schools and is to provide routine care and registration for all patient groups at the new facility.

Marek Kociuch
Marek was recruited through the SEHD recruitment initiative in May 2006 and took up post in Caithness in September 2006. Marek has 15yrs experience in dentistry. For the past 11years he and his wife have run their own practice in Poland.

Increased Dental Provision For Inverness Area
Also on the 27th another unit will be officially opened  - Culloden Dental Clinic, Culloden Community Clinic, Keppoch Road, Inverness