South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has expressed his fears that the planned closure of a dental practise in Castle Douglas will trigger a “domino effect”- with more closures to follow.

The comments come after the news that Gardenhill Dental Clinic have notified patents that they will close at the start of next year, leaving 4400 patients in the Castle Douglas area without an NHS dentist.

The closure follows the recent move by Gretna dental practise to stop the provision of adult NHS dental services from 10 November, affecting 2400 patients.

Colin Smyth said, “The news of the proposed closure of the dental practise in Castle Douglas is a bitter blow to thousands of NHS patients in the area, who are likely to have to find private dental care which many simply won’t be able to afford.

“Few people will be surprised at this decision given the real crisis dentistry is facing and my fear is there will be a domino affect with more and more dentists closing in the months ahead.

“It is really frustrating that the recent announcement of the closure to adult NHS patients of the Gretna dental surgery has failed to act as a wake-up call to the Scottish Government of the growing dental crisis.

“The double whammy of the UK Government’s Brexit, leading to a huge number of vacancies in dentistry and the Scottish Government’s funding cuts to dentists, has made this move almost inevitable and I worry it will lead to others following.

“Both Governments were warned that moves such as this by dental practises would happen, but so far they have ignored those warnings.

“It’s vital that the local health board works with patients to help them secure alternative NHS provision and both governments face up to the impact the dental crisis is having in the area”.

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