Calls for review of dental treatment in A&E

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Calls for review of dental treatment in A&E

UNISON is calling on the Government to review dental treatment in A&E as new figures show a sharp rise in number of people needing emergency dental treatment last year.

The number visiting A&E with tooth problems rose four-fold from 3,505 to 14,527 since the coalition government came to power according to new figures by the Health and Social Care Information Centre.   The cost of dental treatment means those who can’t afford regular check-ups end up with poor dental health widening the gap between the rich and the poor.

UNISON Head of Health Christina McAnea said:   “Things are bad when people start neglecting their oral health for money reasons. Some people suffer for hours sometimes days with severe tooth pain and find themselves with no other option but to go to A&E as they can’t afford to pay the dentist.

“Families are struggling with high energy bills, rising childcare cost, expensive fuel and transport so something has to give. After they’ve paid their bills, rent and food, low-paid families find themselves out of pockets and that’s when extra expenses such as dental treatments become a luxury.

“The link between poor dental health and general health issues is very clear and the growing number of people needing urgent dental attention at A&Es is extremely worrying and must beaddressed.   “This is the early sign of a major problem which can only add extra pressure on the already stretched A&E services and wider NHS.

“The Government’s tales of economic recovery and employment are millions miles away from what people are experiencing on the ground.

These figures are further evidence of how out of touch the Government is and that once again, it’s the poorest who are paying the price of austerity.”

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