HEALTH bosses are introducing emergency measures to cope with a shortage of dentists in the island.
The Department of Health says there has been a shortage of salaried dentists for a variety of reasons, including long-term sickness and repeated difficulties in recruitment, means that it will be necessary to delay routine checkups and treatment.
The current limited resources available will be used to provide urgent care and follow up.
At the same time, the department is looking at a number of options to resolve the problems.
These include alternative recruitment methods, the introduction of extended hours, employment of locum dentists and alternative ways of providing the service, for example by developing additional General Dental Practitioner services.
The changes will take place with immediate effect at the Hillside and Community Health Centre clinics in Douglas.
The Ramsey NHS clinic is not affected by these changes, nor are services for children or those patients with additional needs who attend the Community Dental Service.
The department expects the situation to improve over the short to medium term, so that routine check up and treatment appointments will start again.
Minister for Health, Mr David Anderson MHK, said: ‘The department is committed to solving the acute problems currently facing the Salaried Dental Service. These challenges are not simple to resolve but I would like to reassure patients that we are taking all possible measures to improve the situation.’
What will this mean for patients:
· The service will continue to see registered patients and those patients who do not have a dentist who have toothache or other dental problems
· Patients currently undergoing a course of treatment will have their treatment completed
· Children will continue to be seen for routine checkups and treatments
· Checkups and routine treatment for adult patients will be subject to delay.