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Anger over long dental waiting lists on Isle of Skye

SCOTS with toothache are facing a 200-mile round trip to get dental treatment as the waiting list for their local dentist is so long.

Almost 13% of the population of the Isle of Skye are unable to register with an NHS dentist due to a historic lack of dentists causing a large waiting list.

Instead many drive to Inverness, Dingwall or Fort William for check-ups and treatment.

Locals have hit out at the situation which has happened despite the opening of a £1.2 million clinic at Portree last year.

NHS Highland admitted there were 1630 people on the dental waiting list for Skye and nearby Lochalsh. Health board chiefs say they are confident people on the list will be accommodated.

There are currently four dental practices in the area - one each at Portree and Dunvegan on Skye and two at Kyle of Lochalsh, on the mainland side of the Skye Bridge, which serve the southern end of the island.

Portree resident Catriona Leslie, said: "I didn't even bother trying to sign on for an NHS dentist on Skye because I knew there was a waiting list of more than 1000. Dingwall is a long way to go to see a dentist, but there was no alternative."

Highland councillor Drew Millar, who lives in Portree, said: "When the new dental clinic was opened in Portree, we thought it would solve a lot of the problems, but there still seems to be far too long a waiting list."

An NHS Highland spokesman said: "Following some challenges around the recruitment of dentists, the current complement of staff was in place by February 2013. The waiting list is decreasing and all patients will be accommodated by the existing practices."

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