New hopes for the future of Caithness dental surgery

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The owners of a dental surgery in Caithness have been given new hopes, after an anonymous benefactor offered to settle their unpaid tax bill.

Earlier this month, Janey and John Murray, the owners of the Smile Solutions clinics in Portree, Skye and Thurso, were declared bankrupt at Portree Sheriff Court; it is believed they had a large unpaid tax bill. The Murray’s financial problems left the future of the practices hanging in the balance and three dentists resigned due to the uncertainty surrounding their jobs.

Yesterday, Dr John Murray said that an unnamed benefactor had come forward and offered to settle the unpaid bill; he described the offer as “fantastic” and “beyond belief.” The future of the clinic will now be decided in the coming days.

The closure of the dental practices could have serious consequences for dental services in the Thurso area; together with the closure of the Portree clinic, thousands of patients could be affected. If the practices close, thousands of patients will be forced to find alternative dental care and this may involve them travelling significant distances.

If the practices stay open, the Murrays, along with practice manager, Gavin Major, are confident that they can continue to provide excellent standards of care in the future. The Murrays have been affected by their personal financial problems but the practice has been a success and the financial troubles are not associated with the Smile Solutions clinics.

The proposal to overturn the bankruptcy is now being considered by the Royal Bank of Scotland and a decision is expected in the near future.

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