Dentists are asking the government to think about how dental services for residents in care homes are funded in the wake of a report from Healthwatch Oxfordshire that found there are numerous issues preventing care home residents from accessing adequate dental treatment. The report cites insufficient NHS dentists carrying out on-site visits, problems getting to appointments off-site and a reluctance for dentists to treat patients with dementia or learning difficulties.
Rosalind Pearce, executive director of Healthwatch Oxfordshire, said: “Our research has shown that an alarmingly high proportion of care home residents never see a dentist. This is unacceptable. As a result, we will be asking a number of bodies, including NHS England Commissioners, the county council, Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group and the Oxfordshire Local Dental Committee, to take action. Access to dentistry should be a fundamental right for everyone. People living in care homes must not be excluded.”
“Dentists are asking the government to think about how dental services for residents in care homes are funded in the wake of a report from Healthwatch Oxfordshire.“
Chair of the Local Dental Committees Annual Conference, Joe Hendron, said: “Good oral health is important for everyone, regardless of their age or circumstances. Being able to eat, communicate and socialise confidently all depend on maintaining a healthy mouth. Looking after the healthcare needs of vulnerable adults is not simply an issue for care homes, and it shouldn’t be left to chance. For far too long, treating NHS dentistry as an optional extra has robbed residents who could be our relatives, parents and grandparents of the dignity they deserve, with a devastating impact on their health and wellbeing.”