South Scotland

Dumfries dental clinic closure defended

Child at dentist Image copyright Getty Images

NHS Dumfries and Galloway has defended its decision to close a dental clinic.

Board members ratified the plans to shut the Lochside facility serving north-west Dumfries.

Campaigners claimed the clinic had been systematically run down and its closure would leave a serious gap in provision in an area recognised for deprivation.

However, the health board said all patients would be provided for elsewhere but should continue using the clinic until notified otherwise.

Valerie White, who was the lead manager on the process, said the closure decision had not been taken lightly.

'Gaining feedback'

She said: "There was an oral health needs assessment exercise done of the Lochside and Lincluden area which involved gaining feedback from patients on their views about the provision of dental care.

"There was also work undertaken with the Lochside and Lincluden community through a participatory appraisal exercise that was done."

She said that had all fed into the process for making the final decision.

However, the move has been criticised by a number of local politicians.

South of Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth said the health board had shown "contempt for the community".

'Real blow'

He described it as an "unnecessary attack" on one of the area's "most deprived communities".

Labour colleague, councillor Ronnie Nicholson, described it as a "real blow" to the area he represents.

"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," he said.

Galloway and West Dumfries Conservative MSP Finlay Carson said he was "disappointed" by the move.

"How can we expect to improve dental health while closing down vital services in the communities that most need them?" he said.

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