"Delay in obtaining a dental appointment"

About: NHS Shetland

(as the patient),

I lost a filling, so I contacted my dental clinic at Brae Health Centre and obtained an appointment in two weeks. Just before this appointment was due the receptionist telephoned my wife to cancel, and my wife asked about making another appointment. She was told that there was nothing available, but I would be informed of any cancellation, and if I did not hear anything within two weeks, to contact them again.

After about three weeks I visited the clinic to get more information. I was told my dentist was no longer at the practice, and I had been given an appointment with another dentist, and that had been cancelled because the dentist was sick. I asked if I could now make an appointment, and was told none was available but that I could be put on a list of patients waiting for an appointment, and to call back in a week's time if I had not had a call.

Nearly a week later I have heard nothing - after a wait of about six weeks from my first call, I am not in great pain so I do not feel I can ask for an emergency appointment, but I am in discomfort. What concerns me is that I am no nearer finding out if or when I might see a dentist, and it is this uncertainty I find frustrating.

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Response from Carolyn Hand, Corporate Services Manager/Complaints Officer, Chief Executive's Department, NHS Shetland

I am sorry you have experienced difficulties. Unfortunately there has been a higher than normal level of sickness at the Brae practice, which has been compounded by dentists leaving and there has been a subsequent backlog of patients waiting to be seen. The vacancies have been advertised and temporary arrangements are in place to provide cover.

If you would like to contact me directly, I will be able to assist further.

Lisa Sutherland, Primary Care Manager

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