New evening appointment pilot scheme launches in Dumfries to increase dental capacity

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A new pilot scheme has launched in Dumfries and Galloway to increase dental capacity.

From Monday 19th June, evening appointments will be available in Dumfries and Newton Stewart. It is hoped that the extra appointments will boost capacity in the area, which has been affected by recent closures and practices switching to private care.

The scheme has been funded by the Public Dental Service and will enable a small number of patients to access evening appointments on weekdays.

Alison Milne, director of dentistry, explained that funding has been made available for extra appointments, but there are no additional members of staff, which means that increases in capacity are ‘modest.’ The pilot scheme encourages participating practices to adjust working models to make evening appointments available, which should enable teams to see more patients and give patients who work full-time more flexibility.

Ms Milne said that the trust is aware of the significant issues facing local dental services across Scotland and the rest of the UK. National shortages of dentists are impacting patients and staff, with many practices turning patients away or amassing long waiting lists. The NHS is working tirelessly to try to increase capacity and enable as many people as possible to access local NHS dental services.

The pilot scheme has been welcomed by local MSP, Finlay Carson, but he is eager to go further and has called for extra surgeries to cope with backlogs and waiting lists.

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