British Orthodontic Society Condemns Long Waiting Lists

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A regional radio and TV show has aired the concerns of parents in the East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire area, as it has emerged dental waiting lists continue to grow in length – up to two years in some cases.

Better Resources Needed

Speaking on Radio Humberside and Look North, Guy Deeming, Chairman of the British Orthodontic Society Specialists Group, condemned the waiting times and cited a lack of government funding as a main reason for the lack of response in NHS dental services. He said that some children were waiting more than two years for treatment, while others were going outside of the area altogether to find treatment with a shorter waiting time.

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Deeming told the BBC radio show that the BOS was keen to put pressure on the government to allocate more resources into the area, with an additional emphasis on addressing manpower in certain areas of the country. He also highlighted inconsistencies in access to services, with some areas of England able to treat young people immediately, while other areas struggled with longer waiting lists. The disparity in services is sure to leave those in the north of England questioning why their waiting times are longer in comparison with those of a dentist in central London, for example.

Optimal Referral Time

According to the BOS, roughly one in three children under the age of 18 will qualify for orthodontic treatment funded by the NHS. Despite this availability, Deeming stressed the importance of not referring children for treatment too early, as the level of intervention required will vary depending on the child. He said that there is an optimum time to begin working on teeth-straightening measures, and this is unique to each child and a one-size-fits-all approach does not apply. The number of patients referred to specialist clinics such as uksmile continues to rise, and parts of the country aren’t coping with the management of the waiting lists.

He advised parents to liaise with family dentists with regard to further treatment to ensure that their child is referred at the right time and to avoid adding further pressure on current waiting list times. Deeming was also quick to say that the BOS continues to work with NHS England to ensure funding is directed where it needs to be.