NHS Greater Glasgow will officially launch an innovative new scheme to improve dental services for children and young people at 10am on Tuesday 10th May at Lochview Nursery, Easterhouse.
The £400,000 pilot scheme, funded by the Scottish Executive, will be used to recruit 16 dental staff to develop innovative new services for children and young people across North and East Glasgow. The additional staff will include dentists, dental therapists, dental nurses and hygienists.
Ray McAndrew, Clinical Director of NHS Greater Glasgow's Community Dental Service, said: "We're delighted to have secured this funding and are committed to working with local people to ensure that we develop a service which meets their needs."
"Oral Health Action Teams (OHATs) have not only worked to improve oral health - particularly amongst pre-fives across the city - but have also motivated people to rightly demand better oral health services for their children. We want to capitalise on that demand and give people the opportunity to tell us what's needed to improve dental services for children and young people to help tackle the high disease level and poor oral hygiene so prevalent in Glasgow."
North and East Glasgow have been selected as the two pilot areas for the new scheme as recent dental surveys revealed that over 80% of children living in some of these communities have dental decay by age five.
The new pilot scheme will provide a network of preventative care and treatment for those with the greatest need, including children aged between 0-16 who are not currently registered with a dentist.
Ray McAndrew explained: "We are keen to explore the development of a range of services including new drop-in clinics which provide a same-day service, outreach clinics in local nursery and primary schools and increased access to preventative treatments such as fluoride varnish and fissure sealants.
He added: "Over the next few months we will be carrying out a range of consultation activities with local representatives, schools and community groups to test these ideas and get feedback on the type of new services local people would like to see developed."
Deputy Health Minister Rhona Brankin said: "Improving oral health, particularly that of our children is a priority for us – prevention of dental disease is far better than cure.
"The effectiveness of initiatives such as the Scottish Executive Nursery Tooth-brushing Scheme in improving the oral health of our children should never be underestimated. These children will have a far better chance of growing up with healthy teeth than any previous generation.
"Parents have a very important role to play in continuing this good work at home. It is vital children are encouraged, not just to brush their teeth regularly, but to choose healthier options for example fruit instead of chocolate or water instead of fizzy juice."
The plans to develop and improve dental services for children form part of NHS Greater Glasgow's five year oral health strategy to improve oral health and enhance dental services. The strategy has particular focus on vulnerable groups such as children and on promoting good oral health and developing and enhancing dental services to improve access by reducing inequalities.
NHS Greater Glasgow plans to consult with local communities in North and East Glasgow over the next few months with the aim of introducing the new scheme across both pilot areas in September 2005. The service will then be monitored and evaluated over the following year and, if successful, will be rolled out to other parts of the city including Pollok and Maryhill.
Note to editors:
Date: Tuesday 10th May
Venue: Lochview Nursery, 145 Lochend Road, Easterhouse
Photo opportunities: Children and staff from the nursery will be available for photographs
Interview opportunities: Ray McAndrew, Clinical Director of NHS Greater Glasgow's Community Dental Service and Bridget Ross, Oral Health Promoter will be available for interviews.
Dental services for children are currently provided by General Dental Practitioners and NHS Greater Glasgow's Community Dental Service, which employs a small number of salaried dentists who provide treatment to vulnerable groups such as children, the elderly and special needs patients. Oral Health Action Teams (OHATs), which have been established across Greater Glasgow, also work at the heart of local communities to improve oral health.
Children's oral health in Greater Glasgow compares poorly with the rest of Scotland and is the poorest in Western Europe. Recent studies have linked poor oral health with poverty and deprivation and have shown that children in affluent areas enjoy levels of oral health up to 3-4 times better than in poorer communities.
NHS Greater Glasgow has also received funding for additional and modernised dental surgeries in Springburn and work is due for completion in Spring 2006.
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