Retired dentists are being called on to help ease a waiting-list crisis on South Tyneside.
In July, the local newspaper, the Shields Gazette – www.shieldsgazette.com – revealed that youngsters up to 16 were having to wait up to nearly three years for orthodontic work such as braces.
According to the British Dental Health Foundation, delaying orthodontic treatment can cause jaw and joint problems and, in some cases, headaches.
Now local councillor, Jim Foreman, the council’s lead member for children and young people, said the waiting list crisis could be eased by re-employing recently retired staff.
He said: ‘South Tyneside lost two orthodontic surgeons through retirement. If I was with the PCT, I would go back to those dentists and see if they could go back to work part-time.’
A spokeswoman for the PCT accepted the Trust needed to respond faster to the council’s concerns and pledged to have a representative responsible for orthodontic commissioning attend the committee’s next meeting.
The new orthodontic contract supplements services provided in the borough and by consultants at Newcastle Dental Hospital.