It's almost a year since one of our Kinross dentists closed her doors to many NHS patients, which prompted some residents in Kinross to form the campaign to "Save NHS Dentistry" locally and across Scotland.
We have met regularly most months since then, collected 1200 signatures and lodged an e-petition with the Scottish Parliament which gained a further 144 names. We know it's a generalised problem but there is still a great amount of local concern. We took our petition to the Parliament's Petitions Committee in December and got press and media coverage in the Aberdeen Press & Journal and the Perthshire Advertiser (Friday 15/12/06); whilst Sheila Green and Felicity Garvie spoke to Radio Tay about the issues. The Petitions Committee will revisit our petition in the new year. When it does, local MSP Bruce Crawford has agreed to come with us and speak on our behalf. We don't expect things to change over night, but we are determined not to let up on this because we don't want to see any further privatisation of health and dental services.
Some of us also have specific problems such as not being able to get children registered with an NHS dentist or not being accepted onto NHS dentists' lists in other regions such as Fife. Longer term we are hoping that the new health centre will be able to accommodate dental facilities to cover the local need; or that at least a mobile dentist can be persuaded to visit Kinross to service those who currently aren't able to register with an NHS dentist.
Our next meeting is on Wednesday 14 February (sorry, not very romantic!) at Kinross Church Centre at 7 pm. We welcome any newcomers and thank all those who gave their time and energy to keep the campaign going throughout 2006. And we promise not to get any less vocal in 2007, particularly as there are elections coming up...!