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Concerns raised over dental services in Moray as patients ‘deregistered’ due to staff shortages

Bishopmill Dental Centre in Elgin when it first opened. Picture by Gordon Lennox/DCT Media.
Bishopmill Dental Centre in Elgin when it first opened. Picture by Gordon Lennox/DCT Media.

A Moray MSP has raised concerns about the provision of NHS dental services in the area after a number of patients were deregistered due to staff shortages.

Richard Lochhead has urged NHS Grampian to take action and tackle the “growing issue” to ensure local residents can access dental care locally.

It comes after a number of people complained they have been unable to register with an NHS dentist and were advised to seek an alternative practice in Aberdeenshire or the Highlands.

Meanwhile, bosses at Bishopmill Dental Centre in Elgin have also decided to cut down on registered patients as they struggle to recruit new doctors.

Mr Lochhead has now asked for a meeting with NHS Grampian’s chief executive to discuss his constituents’ concerns and ensure Moray residents are not “disadvantaged”.

Lack of access to NHS dental services in Moray ‘unacceptable’

He said: “Many will remember the challenging situation we faced in Moray more than 10 years ago, when accessing a NHS dentist was incredibly difficult.

“As an MSP for Moray I worked hard alongside NHS Grampian to ensure improved access for all residents of Moray to dental services and it is seriously concerning that once again this is a problem locally.

Richard Lochhead has raised concerns over Moray dental services
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead. Pictures by Jason Hedges/DCT Media.

“Some [constituents] have told me that they have been offered alternative access in Highland or Aberdeenshire which is unacceptable. In the past few days, the situation appears to have escalated with patients of Bishopmill Dental Centre being deregistered due to staffing issues.

“I will be seeking reassurance form the chief executive that measures are being put in place to tackle this growing issue and that residents of Moray are not at a disadvantage from others living in Grampian when it comes to accessing NHS dental care.”

‘We apologise for any distress and inconvenience’

A spokeswoman for NHS Grampian said: “We are aware that Bishopmill Dental Practice in Elgin has decided to deregister some of its NHS patients due to difficulties with recruiting to vacant dentist positions.

“We are sorry for any distress and inconvenience that this decision may have caused.

“We have a central call number available for people to access help and advice in relation to dental emergencies and dental registration, with a team of qualified dental nurses who will respond to these queries/issues.

“The team can be contacted on 0345 4565 990 between 8.05am and 6pm and can provide details of dental practices who are accepting new patients across Grampian.

“Should emergency treatment be required you should contact the advice line on 0345 45 65 990 Monday to Friday between 8.05am and 6pm or NHS24 on 111 after 6pm and on weekends.”

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