In keeping with many NHS Western Isles services, the Dental Department will soon be increasing services.

Social Distancing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) rules have meant that, over the past number of weeks, only the most urgent dental emergencies have been seen.

From Monday, June 8, 2020, the emergency service for Lewis and Harris will move back to the Western Isles Dental Centre in Stornoway. It had temporarily relocated to Castleview Dental Practice on Cromwell Street. The additional space means more staff and more patients can be accommodated, allowing us to offer more appointments.

No routine care will be available yet, but it will be possible to see a wider range of problems (including lost fillings and broken dentures), depending on demand.

The General Practice, Castleview Dental Clinic, remains closed and patients of the practice will be seen by the emergency service until further notice. The practice will make an announcement soon about reopening.

NHS Western Isles Director of Dental Services, Colin Robertson, said: “NHS Western Isles Dental Department has followed the detailed, expert guidance available to ensure the safety of both staff and patients is maintained. We are keen to see more patients, but would ask the public to help us with some simple steps.

“Please call for an appointment first, and if possible come alone. Hand sanitizer is available, and we've made ample room for social distancing. Enhanced cleaning and disinfection of the practice is scheduled throughout the day.”

Patients should note that the Western Isles Dental Centre car park is unavailable. Patients should park in Western Isles Hospital car park. The Dental Centre car park is being used by the COVID-19 testing team, who work in a segregated part of the dental building.

Dental patients should make use of the front entrance which is dedicated exclusively to dental patients.

Mr Robertson added:  "I am pleased to say the Dental Centre will also be able to safely support the Covid Testing team. The building has been divided to allow this important public service to occupy part of ground floor, whilst all dental treatment will be delivered upstairs."

For Lewis and Harris all dental all calls should be made to 01851 707500, except out of hours, when patients should call NHS24 on 111.

Arrangements in the Southern Isles are unchanged: patients in Uist and Benbecula should continue to call 01870 602178. For Barra, the number is 01871 810400.