NHS Western Isles cancels routine dental checks to reduce the risk of coronavirus spread

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NHS Western Isles chiefs have cancelled routine dental checks in a bid to try and reduce the spread of coronavirus after health ministers in Scotland announced urgent measures to cope with rising demand for hospital services.

Health secretary, Jeane Freeman outlined a series of measures that will be introduced in Scotland to try and stem the spread of cases and ensure hospitals are prepared to treat patients with the most severe symptoms. Routine dental appointments, non-essential surgery and outpatient appointments will all be delayed to minimise risks, free up hospital beds and enable healthcare professionals to treat those in intensive care.

Emergency dental treatment will be available in the Western Isles for those who require urgent treatment, but for the time being, patients who have appointments for check-ups booked have been advised to steer clear of surgeries. Scotland recorded its second death from the virus on Tuesday 17th March.

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, Ms Freeman confirmed that the NHS in Scotland would be placed under emergency measures to create more intensive care beds, increase staff capacity and ensure patients who have severe complications have access to the equipment and treatment they need. The current capacity for hospital beds is 13,000 and health boards are aiming to increase it by at least 3,000. 

For the moment, dental appointments are available in other parts of Scotland, but patients have been advised to contact their practice if they have an appointment booked, as the situation is developing rapidly and further restrictions are expected to be confirmed in the coming days and weeks.

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