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Also in the news / Lost appointments, cost of living payments, bird flu response and student success

PATIENTS are being reminded to cancel dental appointments if they are unable to attend after it emerged that during the first five months of this year more than 650 NHS Shetland appointments were wasted due to people failing to turn up.

NHS Shetland’s dental director Antony Visocchi.

This amounts to a loss of 328 hours, or 44 days, of valuable clinical time, the equivalent to 722 fillings or 361 root canal treatments.

The data does not include Shetland’s private dental clinics.

The health board’s director of dentistry Antony Visocchi said: “The number of patients not attending appointments is a serious problem for the NHS as a whole and in Shetland, we know we could offer those appointments to other patients.

“Despite the lifting of Covid restrictions, as a service, we are still working under a great deal of pressure which is why avoiding missed appointment is so important.

“Unless we see the failures to attend decrease, we will have little choice but to consider the introduction of charges for missed appointments.”

AROUND 3,600 families in Orkney and Shetland are set to receive the first of two cost of living payments.

The first instalment of £326 will automatically be paid into people’s bank accounts this month, the UK Government said. A second instalment of £324 will follow in the autumn.

Almost one in four households across the UK will get the means-tested benefit which is part of a £37 billion support package to tackle the cost of living crisis.

This includes all households entitled to Universal Credit, income-based Jobseekers Allowance, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Pension Credit.

In addition to the £650 cost of living payment all domestics energy customers in the UK will receive a £400 grant to help with rising energy bills.

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Finally, around 4,000 people in the Northern Isles will receive a £150 disability payment this autumn.

SHETLAND MSP Beatrice Wishart has welcomed the creation of a taskforce to respond to the bird flu crisis. It will be led by NatureScot.

Wishart previously raised written questions to the Scottish Government asking about plans to respond to the outbreak.

“The RSPB have been in contact with me since the outbreak occurred and I very much share their concerns about the risk of devastating consequences for our wild bird populations,” Wishart said.

“The Scottish Government should have acted more swiftly, but I am encouraged that with NatureScot now leading the response we will see shared expertise try and address the evolving situation.”

Celebrating their academic success: Theresa Painter and Jaclyn Thomson. Photo: Shetland UHI

TWO UHI Shetland students are among just 15 across Scotland who have completed their graduate apprenticeship alongside a three-year degree programme in early learning and childcare.

Theresa Painter and Jaclyn Thomson both work in the nursery department of Baltasound Junior High School.

The University of the Highlands and Islands and University of the West of Scotland were the only two institutions to pilot the new graduate apprenticeships which were created as a direct result of the government funded policy of offering 1,140 hours of free early learning and childcare.

Thomson said: “Completing the graduate apprenticeship has also ignited a passion to help develop play in the early years and I would like to help parents, staff and other professionals understand how important all types of play are for child development.

Painter added: “I’ve been really grateful for this opportunity and would like to thank Baltasound Junior High School for being such a great setting to work in.”

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