By not listening to the Dental profession, who have made several suggestions for improvements, the government has effectively rationed the number of dentists, and therefore access to NHS Dentistry. The short term financial gain by not training enough is then destroyed by the perverse outcome whereby private dentistry is the rule in most cities. Training more dentists is one answer, but in the meantime we are importing dentists across the nation. When our trainees emerge their progress may be blocked.. The Belfast telegraph 20th August is damning. (Review into NHS dentistry access urged as surgeon warns of ‘decade of inertia’) Perhaps politicians will listen more if our dentists go shooting lions..
THE UK’S LEADING DENTAL CHARITY has reported an upsurge in calls to its Dental Helpline, for the second consecutive year.
The British Dental Health Foundation say those seeking advice about their dental health over the last 12 months has increased by 17 per cent compared with last year.
The charity is finding greater availability and accessibility to cosmetic dentistry, the prominence of sugar and diet in the media, and on-going confusion regarding access to NHS dentists are resulting in considerably more of us turning to the Dental Helpline for answers.
The Dental Helpline, which provides callers with free, qualified, trusted and independent advice has taken almost half a million calls since it was setup in 1997.
Dental Advisor with the helpline Karen Coates believes that despite the growing amount of online information available, the opportunity to speak directly with a professional is the key to why the Dental Helpline is currently thriving.
Ms Coates says: “The growth of technology has shifted the way many of us now search for advice and information, particularly when it comes to our health. Over the last decade, this has seen a reduction in calls to many Helplines – but it appears this trend has come to an end – for the Dental Helpline anyway.
“Knowing that we are speaking with a qualified dental professional gives many of us a greater sense of trust and confidence that the information being provided is reliable and comes from a source which is reputable.”
The largest number of requests to Dental Helpline over the last year were regarding prosthetic dentistry (15%) followed by advice on finding a dentist (11%), NHS Dentistry regulations (10%) and dentist charges (8%).
“No caller we get has the same question as another. We field information requests on every single aspect of dentistry on a daily basis and therefore we have to ensure that the advice we give is suited to that individual’s needs,” adds Ms Coates.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation believes the success of the Dental Helpline is down to its sustained presence of providing independent and expert advice.
Dr Carter says: “For almost 20 years we have been, and continue to be, extremely proud of our Dental Helpline as it strives to maintain and exceed the exceptionally high standards in providing support for anyone who calls us in need for advice.
“Whether people are sitting at home and have a thought or are sitting in the dentist waiting room and need urgent advice, the Dental Helpline has become an important tool for many thousands of people when it comes to providing free and impartial information on a whole range of topics relating to dental health.
“Because we want to ensure our Dental Helpline is the best it can possibly be, we appoint independent quality control from the Faculty of General Dental Practice of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, and are a proud member of the Helplines Partnership.
“Going forward we want to help even more people and are encouraging everyone to get in touch not only via our phone line but also through Twitter and Facebook. The more requests we get, the more people we can help and the more we can help to improve the health of the nation’s mouths.”