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Dental Think Tank

Health & Welfare

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Representatives of the community and health professionals held the first meeting of the Dental Services ‘Think Tank’ on 25th July in Caithness General.   The resounding message from this inaugural meeting was one of partnership.  Local representatives agreed that they were willing to work with NHS Highland to explore potential solutions to the current difficulties the people of Caithness and North West Sutherland have been experiencing in accessing dental treatment.   Agreement was also reached that there was a need to broadcast nationally,  the challenges facing their rural community regarding the difficulties faced by the recruitment of Dentists to the area.

Mrs. Liz Smith, Highland Health Council said:
‘I found the meeting to be very useful.  I was impressed by the fact that Paul Martin, Chief Executive of the Primary Care Trust, Chaired the meeting as it proved the seriousness with which the Trust is viewing this situation.   I am hoping that all Highland MSPs will come to the next meeting in order that the local community can hear what has been done in the Scottish Parliament to provide incentives to encourage professionals to stay in the area.’

A number of national and local issues, and how they affected the area,  were also discussed.  Local representatives, in particular, raised the matter of travel expenses for patients travelling outwith Caithness for NHS dental treatment,  and requested these be explored further by the Scottish Executive as a matter of urgency.  They also agreed that in future help would be given to the Trust in compiling advertisements for dental vacancies. 

The next meeting of the Think Tank will invite local Dentists to give them the opportunity to provide their insight as to a way forward in respect of NHS recruitment and local access.