Thou­sands of chil­dren miss­ing out on free check-ups

FEWER THAN HALF OF KIDS IN HILLING­DON HAVE BEEN TO THE DEN­TIST IN PAST YEAR

Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette - - News -

MORE than 120,000 chil­dren in Hilling­don, Eal­ing, Houn­slow and Har­row have not seen an NHS den­tist in the past year, ac­cord­ing to newly re­leased fig­ures.

The British Den­tal As­so­ci­a­tion (BDA) said the rate of check-ups for chil­dren is a “na­tional dis­grace” and put it down to a lack of in­for­ma­tion to en­gage hard-tore­ach fam­i­lies.

NHS data shows that 41% of chil­dren in Eal­ing, 52% of chil­dren in Hilling­don, 39% of chil­dren in Houn­slow and 51% of chil­dren in Har­row have not had a den­tal check-up in the 12 months to Septem­ber 2018.

It means 37,695 chil­dren in Hilling­don, 24,865 chil­dren in Houn­slow, 33,331 chil­dren in Eal­ing and 29,419 chil­dren in Har­row have not been for a check-up over the pe­riod, de­spite NHS guide­lines say­ing they should be seen at least once a year.

NHS den­tal care for chil­dren is free, but a poll con­ducted by the BDA last year re­vealed that one in four par­ents are un­aware that there is no charge for rou­tine check-ups for chil­dren.

The BDA’s chair of gen­eral den­tal prac­tice, Hen­rik Over­gaard-Nielsen, said that cur­rent out­reach pro­grammes were more likely to tar­get peo­ple who al­ready visit their den­tist.

He said: “The fact nearly five mil­lion chil­dren are miss­ing out on free den­tal care is noth­ing short of a na­tional dis­grace, but is the log­i­cal re­sult of poli­cies from suc­ces­sive gov­ern­ments.

“In Scot­land and Wales ded­i­cated na­tional pro­grammes are reach­ing out in nurs­eries and pri­mary schools, yet in Eng­land the au­thor­i­ties have of­fered a few posters to pop up in den­tal prac­tices.

“Tooth decay is a pre­ventable dis­ease and re­mains the lead­ing cause of hos­pi­tal ad­mis­sions for chil­dren, but in­stead of pub­lic in­for­ma­tion cam­paigns West­min­ster has of­fered ra­dio si­lence.”

Over the 12 months to June, 3,345 chil­dren in Eal­ing , 3,155 chil­dren in Houn­slow, 1,921 chil­dren in Har­row and 1,992 chil­dren in Hilling­don re­ceived some kind of ur­gent den­tal treat­ment.

Ac­cord­ing to den­tists, these are mainly tooth ex­trac­tions or fill­ings.

Among adults, 138,900 peo­ple in Eal­ing, 104,400 peo­ple in Houn­slow, 86,500 peo­ple in Hilling­don and 77,900 peo­ple in Har­row saw an NHS den­tist in the 24 months prior to Oc­to­ber 2018.

A De­part­ment of Health and So­cial Care spokesman said: “We want every sin­gle child and adult to have ac­cess to NHS care, what­ever their back­ground or lo­ca­tion – and last year a record 6.9 mil­lion chil­dren were seen by a den­tist, with num­bers ris­ing every year.”

Par­ents are be­ing urged to take their chil­dren for a check-up

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