NHS Shetland has announced that the St Olaf Street Dental Practice will be re-opening as part of the NHS salaried dental service on Monday.
The practice, which has been completely refurbished with brand new dental chairs and equipment, will be offering patients an appointment service.
Director of clinical services Simon Bokor-Ingram said all three dental chairs, one in each of the three surgeries, will be in use. It is likely that locums will be used to staff the practice and he hopes its re-opening will make some impression on the waiting list.
Mr Bokor-Ingram said of the refurbishment, which has cost around £80,000 so far: “The dental chairs are brand new. The IT equipment is all new. The instruments are new, there is new furniture and new fittings.”
Now that the practice has been taken over by the NHS following the retirement of long-serving dentist Alan Owen, Mr Bokor-Ingram said staff could be rotated within the dental service of which the practice is part. Other services, for example orthodontics, could be provided at St Olaf Street on a regular basis, possibly once a week.
Mr Bokor-Ingram said: “There may be locums from time to time – in order to meet the need we may rotate staff a bit. This would mean with the different specialities, including a hygienist, we can provide a comprehensive service as we have a larger dental service than just St Olaf Street.” He added: “We hope by using all three chairs all of the time that this will help with the overall plan to reduce the waiting list. Our aspiration is to have no waiting list and everyone registered.”
The St Olaf Street practice was originally due to re-open on 3rd October following the departure Mr Owen in September. However sourcing the chairs and equipment, which came from Germany, proved more time-consuming than anticipated.
NHS Shetland estates manager John McBeath said a lot of work on the surgeries had been done in a short time and technically it had been a “tight programme”. He said: “Work in dental practices is very complex. Dental chairs are very complex devices with multiple services having to be positioned precisely on the floor.” These include compressed air and drainage, and
Mr McBeath added: “It’s not like putting in a washing machine.” In addition the premises have been painted throughout and are now looking “very good”.
Decontamination work is likely to be done at the Gilbert Bain Hospital.