Following the demand for local authorities to improve their provision of oral health services in local communities, the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) are calling for them to utilise existing oral health services so that special attention to be paid to some of the most in need areas of society, including the elderly and people in care homes.
The organisation would like to see local authorities work closely with local services and care providers to understand the specific oral
health needs of these sectors of society so that they can provide the best possible care for them.
The move follows calls from leading health charity, the Oral Health Foundation, for local authorities to fully understand the needs of their communities and improve signposting of dental services in local communities to help give everybody the support and help they need.
Speaking on the need for targeted care, President of the BSDHT, Helen Minnery, said: “Providing services for groups such as the elderly, vulnerable people, children and people with disabilities, or those with a combination of needs, requires different approaches and often different expertise and equipment.
“This is by all means a huge undertaking for a local authority as it encompasses so many different areas of society, that is why we believe they should work closely with existing services, such as dental practices, to fully understand the need of their local communities and deliver the best possible care they can.
“By using the resources at their disposal, I believe local authorities can make a huge impact on areas such as care in the elderly or within care homes, where there are some significant barriers to providing adequate oral health care."
The BSDHT are also appealing to their members and other areas of the dental community to offer their expertise and resources to local authorities to help provide care to as many areas of society as possible.
Helen added: “With our help I believe local authorities can help to put into place systems which tackle oral health inequalities for people in all care systems, including hospitals and home day care too.
“The biggest challenge for local authorities is a lack of time and resources to deliver adequate services and I believe this is a gap which we can help them bridge.
“By understanding the specific needs of our community we can help local authorities make huge inroads into providing quality and adequate care across many areas of society and also improve the image of the dental services we provide.”
The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) is a nationally recognised body that represents over 4,000 Dental Hygienists and Dental Therapists across the UK and beyond.
BSDHT maintain an on-going dialogue with the General Dental Council (GDC), the Departments of Health and all of the main groups representing dental care professionals, and attends meetings of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Dentistry, bringing dental hygiene and therapy to the attention of government ministers and MP’s.
Visit www.bsdht.org.uk for more information.
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