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NHSGG TO TACKLE POOR ORAL HEALTH

March 22, 2005 4:02 PM

NHS Greater Glasgow today set out its five-year oral health strategy to improve oral health and enhance dental services following a seven month consultation process.

Greater Glasgow has a poorer oral health record than almost anywhere else in Scotland - despite the fact that the city has a relatively high proportion of dentists and a good rate of registration with a dentist per head of population compared to the rest of Scotland.

David Walker, Assistant Director of Planning and Community Care and Chair of the Oral Health Planning and Implementation Group, NHS Greater Glasgow, said:"Although there have been signs of improvement in the city - such as reduced decay amongst children and more adults retaining their own teeth - this simply doesn't go far enough.Poverty and deprivation, poor diet, smoking and alcohol consumption and poor oral hygiene remain the critical factors affecting oral health.We need to work together to encourage Glaswegians to make oral health a priority, by encouraging good oral hygiene and healthier lifestyles."

The strategy will continue to promote good oral health - particularly amongst children - and will develop and enhance dental services to improve access by reducing inequalities and increasing closer working between health professionals.Excluded groups, such as frail older people, homeless people, older children, children and adults with special needs and people from black and ethnic minorities, will also be targeted as part of the strategy.

David continued "We need to work hard to change expectations and attitudes by raising the profile and priority of oral health, strengthening public health leadership, targeting health improvement efforts and having much greater emphasis on community-based approaches. The recent Scottish Executive announcement of further investment and reforms in NHS dental services is welcome and will help us implement our strategy, particularly to encourage healthier lifestyles and good oral hygiene especially amongst children."

The enhancement of services will be achieved by improving access and plugging gaps with more emphasis on prevention and modernising dentistry by improving quality.

Specific measures outlined in the strategy include: -

* Increasing partnership working between dental health professionals and other health professionals;

* Expanding the activities of community based Oral Health Action Teams;

* Developing oral health promotion programmes, including dietary improvement;

* Extending free toothbrushing and fluoride toothpaste programmes;

* Strengthening oral health within school health teams;

* Providing improved dental services for older people and people with special needs;

* Reducing waiting times for dental specialities;

* Establishing a Primary Care Treatment Centre at Glasgow Dental Hospital;

* The development of proposals to relocate Glasgow Dental Hospital and School

* Improving service quality through continuous development of the dental team.

The implementation of the strategy will be taken forward by the Oral Health Planning and Implementation Group, together with the oral health community, other professionals across primary and secondary care, professional advisory groups, West of Scotland Health Boards, and local authorities and communities.

David added:"Dental decay is entirely preventable and Glasgow's pattern of poor oral health is completely unacceptable.We want to make oral health everybody's business - from dental professionals to other health professionals and stakeholders and to local communities and individuals themselves.Good oral health should be valued as part of healthy living - this is a long term aim but by enhancing dental services and promoting good oral health from an early age we can lay strong foundations for a brighter future. "

Media Contact:

(0141) 201 4429

Note to editors:

Filming/photo opportunities in a dental surgery and nursery are available on request.

Scope of dental services in NHS Greater Glasgow:

General Dental Service (GDS) - 431 independent contractors in 200 practices provide general dental services. 99% of dental services are provided by GDS.

Community Dental Service - Directly managed by NHS Greater Glasgow, the Community Dental Service delivers a range of services including the treatment of: children under general anaesthetic, patients with special needs, the homeless, school dental inspections and epidemiology.The CDS also provides the 'safety net' function for patients who cannot, or will not, access general dental services.

The Out of Hours Glasgow Emergency Dental Service operates in Glasgow Dental Hospital premises on weekday evenings with Saturday and Sunday sessions.

A Primary Care Dental Treatment Centre providing weekday accident and emergency service at Glasgow Dental Hospital is due to commence soon.

Oral Health Action Teams - Multidisciplinary teams tasked with improving oral health among pre-fives work in local communities.OHATs are operational in each Local Health Care Co-operative (LHCC) area.

Glasgow Dental Hospital and School - Provides a range of specialist services including conservative dentistry, periodontics, prosthodontics, orthodontics, oral surgery and oral radiology.It receives referrals from GDPs, GPs, and hospital consultants but there are also significant 'walk ins' or self-referrals.

Royal Hospital for Sick Children - Providing dental services to children via Yorkhill Hospital.

Oral Maxillofacial Surgery Services - This service, based at the Southern General Hospital, provides diagnosis and treatment of conditions affecting the face, mouth, jaw and associated structures and serves patients from Greater Glasgow as well as other West of Scotland Health Boards.

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