Alan Owen’s dental practice in Lerwick is to close for a month before re-opening as an NHS service, it emerged this week.
Mr Owen retires on Friday 2nd September and the practice in the town’s St Olaf Street will be shut from then until Monday 3rd October to allow for essential maintenance work.
Anyone who requires urgent treatment during that time will be able to attend the NHS Shetland emergency dental service. Daytime hours there are to be extended to cope with the needs of patients.
Patients of the practice who are due for routine dental care will be called by staff to attend the practice for an appointment when it re-opens.
Mr Owen’s staff have been offered employment with the NHS, according to a statement from NHS Shetland.
Mr Owen had been unsuccessful in trying to sell on the practice. NHS Shetland eventually agreed to take it over and operate it to ensure that patients continued to receive dental care. A project team has been working closely with the practice and its staff to plan for the transition to an NHS-run service after Mr Owen retires.
Pippa Arbon, interim dental director with NHS Shetland, said: “The transition arrangements mean we have had to plan to close the practice for a period of time. It is an ideal opportunity to carry out essential works, which means we will not have to do this at a later stage which would mean closing the practice again.”
The telephone numbers that should be used to access emergency dental treatment are:
• 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday – phone (01595) 743160.
• 6pm to 8am Monday to Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday – phone NHS24 on 08454 242424.