Tuesday, 5 March 2024
Tuesday, 5 March 2024

Charity calls for better access to NHS dental services for care homes

DAVID McGuire, the Chief Executive of Diagrama Foundation is asking for a review of access to NHS dental care for the residents of care homes across England after a report released by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in March 2023. 

The 2022 ‘Smiling Matters’ report published by the CQC reports that 25%, or a quarter of care home residents, do not have access to NHS dental services. This figure has increased dramatically from the previous CQC report in 2019 which stated that 6% of care home residents did not have access to NHS dental care.

Mr McGuire, whose charity has a Supported Living Service across Bromley, three homes for adults with learning disabilities in Orpington, an eight-bed care home for adults with learning disabilities in West Sussex and a fifty-bed care home for the elderly with nursing and dementia needs in Essex, feels the results of the March CQC Smiling Matters report should lead to an investigation about how the current situation can be improved.

Charity calls for better access to NHS dental services for care homes
Diagrama Foundation CEO David McGuire.

David McGuire, Chief Executive of Diagrama Foundation said:

“We are experiencing difficulties with access to NHS dentists across all our care homes. At our care home in Clacton, most of our fifty residents have to pay for private treatment or travel 18 miles to Colchester where we are able to access limited NHS treatments. In some cases, we need to use community dental care, but waiting times are uncomfortably long, as not enough dentists are able or willing to visit care homes to treat people who may be less mobile, meaning private treatment is the only option.”

The 2022 CQC report states ‘We are concerned that people living in care homes are missing out on vital care from dental practitioners – both at the right time and in the right place. The proportion of care home providers saying that people who use their services could ‘never’ access NHS dental care rose by more than 4 times – from just 6% in 2019 to 25% in 2022.’

David McGuire continued:

“The NICE guideline NG48, published in July 2016, recognised the importance of good oral care for people in care homes yet the situation is worsening not improving. Poor oral health can be linked to weight loss, and we want to do all we can, to prevent the health of people in our care from deteriorating.” 

To find out more about Diagrama Foundation, please visit: www.diagramafoundation.org.uk.

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