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To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to ensure that NHS Highland delivers dental services to remote rural and island communities.

Answered by Maureen Watt (11/03/2015):

Independent Dentists:

A number of specific incentives are available to independent dentists wishing to provide NHS General Dental Services (GDS) in remote and rural communities, and islands.

The Scottish Government funds a programme of Scottish Dental Access Initiative (SDAI) grants in designated areas that have been identified by each NHS board as having unmet patient demand. SDAI grants provide funding support to dentists to establish new, expand or purchase existing NHS dental practices.

The list of designated areas that qualify for SDAI support are reviewed, in conjunction with boards, on a regular basis; in the case of NHS Highland, SDAI grants are presently available in Islay.

Independent dentists who provide GDS from a remote or rural location also benefit from a Remote Areas Allowance. A dentist who provides NHS GDS in an island location, or in an area which has less than 0.5 persons per hectare, can be eligible for payments of up to £9,000 per annum.

Public Dental Services:

The Public Dental Service (PDS) is also available to NHS boards to provide NHS GDS to people who cannot access care from independent dentists. The Scottish Government works closely with NHS boards in remote and rural areas on dental provision. Where the provision of routine care from independent dentists has been exhausted, the Scottish Government continues to fund an effective PDS for people without access to NHS dental treatment.

Current Status: Answered by Maureen Watt on 11/03/2015
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