Fears expressed recently by South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth that closures of dental practices in Dumfries and Galloway would trigger a “domino effect” with further closures have been realised with the news that a dental practice in Thornhill has become the latest to axe NHS adult services.
The move will impact on 3800 patients who will have to pay for private care or find alternative NHS provision from 24 December.
The news follow the recent announcement by Gardenhill Dental Clinic who notified patents that they will close at the start of next year, leaving 4400 patients in the Castle Douglas area without an NHS dentist and the move by Gretna dental practice to stop the provision of adult NHS dental services from 10 November, affecting 2400 patients.
Colin Smyth said, “My worst fears that recent closures of dental practices to adult NHS patients in Gretna and Castle Douglas would trigger a domino effect have been realised with the practice in Thornhill now adding to the dental crisis in Dumfries and Galloway.
“This will be a huge blow to patients in Mid-Nithsdale who will either have to pay for private care or try to find another dentist that provides NHS care. That is becoming more and more difficult as practice after practice ends NHS care.
“It makes me angry that the Scottish Government have failed to wake up to the growing dental crisis.
“The double whammy of the UK Government’s Brexit, which has contributed to the number of vacancies in dentistry but more significantly the Scottish Government’s failure to properly fund dentists means I doubt this will be the last closure.
“Both Governments were warned time and time again that this would happen but have completely ignored those warnings.
“The health board needs to provide as much assistance to support patients finding alternative NHS provision but unless both governments face up to the dental crisis in our area, I believe the very existence of NHS dental care is under threat in Dumfries and Galloway”.