THE opening of a new NHS dental service in Dingwall is set to ease the pain for hundreds of people in the surrounding area.
NHS Highland dental chiefs say the new development is set to guarantee a long-term service for the area.
The new Inchvannie House dental surgery was opened on Monday (September 12).
Dr Navin Aziz has taken on the lease on the new four-surgery dental clinic, which has been built on a site owned by NHS Highland next to the public car park at the rear of the High Street at a cost of £1.3 million. The practice is now open for patients.
Three further dentists will be joining him in the next couple of months.
This is one of the first leases of its type to be agreed in Scotland and ensures that NHS dental services are delivered from modern and compliant premises.
NHS Highland dental service development manager, Alex Fraser, said, “Long term access to NHS dental services is guaranteed to the local community as the lease, which the dentists sign up to, requires that 80 per cent of the income generated at the practice is derived from delivering NHS dental services.
“Less than half the population of Dingwall and the surrounding area are registered with an NHS dentist and over 2,000 people had asked to be placed on the waiting list for registration in Dingwall.
“The new practice will offer the opportunity for all to register for NHS dental services and for those people who have had to travel to access services there will now be the option of a local service.”
She explained that the priority will be to offer patients from the dental waiting list the opportunity to register with the new practice and some patients currently registered with the NHS Highland salaried dental team at the town’s Ross Memorial Hospital will be given the chance to transfer their care to the new clinic.
“This will allow the salaried dental team to focus on the delivery of referral services and dental care for vulnerable patient groups, such as those with complex medical conditions and people that are housebound,” said Ms Fraser.
Dr Aziz completed his training in India and qualified as a dentist in 1996. He started working in the UK in 2006 and was working at Huntly in Aberdeenshire before taking over the new dental clinic in Dingwall.
He said: “I’ve worked all over Britain and have always liked this part of the UK so I was really pleased when this opportunity came up and I’m looking forward to working with the people of Dingwall and surrounding area.
“The premises are wonderful and NHS Highland has equipped the clinic to a very high spec so we will be able to offer a very good service to our patients. It’s also an honour to work in Dingwall.”
Anyone wishing to access NHS dental services in the new Dingwall clinic can contact the practice on 01349 866385.