Western Isles NHS is under fire for axing a dental surgery ahead of a formal consultation to close it.
The only clinic in South Uist will shut for good in a fortnight on the grounds of “quality and safety”, forcing many islanders on a time consuming 60 mile journey to see the next nearest dentist.
A consultation was to take place this summer over controversially merging the facility into a centralised dental hub in Benbecula it was just announced this week.
Previous consultations confirmed the community is strongly resolute in its opposition to moving services out of the district.
However, Western Isles NHS has now ruled the premises in Lochboisdale will shut on April 13 because it says the building is unsuitable, damp and cramped.
It claims “alternative facilities in the Uist and Barra Hospital” in the neighbouring island of Benbecula along with a second surgery in Linaclete will “readily absorb the demand”.
However, there is no dentist surgery within the hospital.
Uist councillor Donnie Steele angrily accused the health board of playing tactics to force the closure of the surgery against the strong wishes of the community.
A statement from health board chief executive, Gordon Jamieson, said: “The clinic is old, and its construction renders it vulnerable to damp, both penetrating and as a result of condensation.
“Floor coverings have deteriorated. Storage space is inadequate, making segregation of clean and dirty goods difficult.
“There is inadequate space to allow staff changing, rest space, and toilet facilities for both patients and staff.”