New specialists to ease ‘unacceptable’ wait for orthodontic treatment
 

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New specialists to ease ‘unacceptable’ wait for orthodontic treatment

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New specialists to ease ‘unacceptable’ wait for orthodontic treatment

 

New specialists to ease ‘unacceptable’ wait for orthodontic treatment

Children and teenagers in Norfolk waiting for an orthodontic appointment will be seen quicker following the appointment of two extra specialists.

A central orthodontic referral service has also been set up in a bid to reduce waiting lists and waiting times and increase patient choice.

NHS Norfolk has made an extra investment of £720,000 per year into orthodontic services, which will enable an extra 600 cases per year to be dealt with.

Previously, primary care orthodontic patients, within NHS Norfolk's area, would be referred directly to NHS-commissioned orthodontists by their dentist.

But Fiona Reynolds, NHS Norfolk's primary care commissioning lead, said this often meant the picture of how many patients were waiting to begin treatment, or how long they had waited on an orthodontist's list, was not always clear.

‘By centrally managing a referral list, we will get a clearer overview of capacity set against demand for services and ensure we continue to commission extra provision in the areas of the greatest need. All of this will go a long way towards reducing waiting times and waiting lists for orthodontic services,' she said.

Orthodontists will continue to manage their own waiting lists and new patients will still receive their referral from their dentist, but the patient will be offered the choice of all NHS orthodontists available to them.

‘They may opt to go to the specialist closest to where they live, or the one their dentists has suggested as preferable. But if the patient has no preference, the service will forward their referral to the specialist with the shortest waiting time,' added Ms Reynolds.

Patients already on waiting lists could also find they are moved through the system quicker.

The two new orthodontists are already taking referrals, currently working within a Norwich practice, and from autumn will be working from Dereham and Norwich.

They will see children who need correction work on moderately or severely crooked teeth, as assessed by their general dentist.

More complex orthodontic work, which may need a multi-disciplinary team to treat the problem, will remain in hospitals.

‘It will give us the capacity to deal with demand for orthodontic treatment - an additional 600 cases per year,' said Ms Reynolds.

Elaine Bond of Yarmouth and Waveney PCT said there was currently an ‘unacceptable' wait for orthodontic treatment in its area.

The PCT would provide funding over the next two years of £1.5million to address waiting lists and access, and was seeking to recruit extra orthodontic specialists.

 Posted on : Sun 13th - Jul - 2008

 

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