A NEW independent dental practice capable of handling up to 10,000 patients opens in Lerwick on Friday.
The four dentist practice has been contracted by NHS Shetland to operate out of the former Shetland Islands Council finance offices at 4 Market Street, opposite Lerwick police station.
The practice will initially have two dentists Ernesto Fernandez Diaz and Dr Stefan Arora working, with two more already contracted to join as soon as they have concluded the “formal process”.
A Lerwick Dental Practice spokeswoman said three Aberdeen dentists were behind the venture.
“We started market research in 2014, visited Lerwick a few times and fell in love with scenery and the local people. We liked the presence of community spirit in Shetlanders,” she said.
“With help from NHS Shetland and Shetland Islands Council we managed to find suitable property, big enough to fit four surgeries, sterilisation, a generous size reception room and many more rooms.
“We started construction work in second half of August 2015. It was a challenging project considering remoteness and accessibility of building materials.”
She said the practice hopes sign up 10,000 patients in the first year and more thereafter.
They expect 80 per cent to be NHS patients, with the rest coming privately.
They also want to provide a full range of dental treatments including implants, cosmetics and aesthetic dentistry.
“We want to set up the practice where our dentists have a special interest in different specialities, such as restorative, surgical, endodontics, periodontics and orthodontics, so that all our patients’ dental needs are met.”
The move was welcomed by NHS Shetland who provided a Scottish Dental Access Initiative grant to help replace the independent practice run by Alun Owen until 2011.
Chief executive Ralph Roberts said: “NHS Shetland has been looking to attract a new practice to Shetland for some time and this has taken considerable effort by our staff and the staff of the new practice.
“We are looking forward to working with the new practice and wish the staff, their families and the practice well with this new venture that is an important development for dental services in Shetland.”
People wishing to sign up to the new practice can phone 01595 690265 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.