Long waiting lists for children and young people needing orthodontic treatment are unacceptable and may reflect underfunding of services, said Guy Deeming, Chairman of the British Orthodontic Society’s Orthodontic Specialists Group, speaking on the BBC this week.
In East Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, there are long waits for children to get the treatment they need and some are having to travel out of the area.
The BBC aired the concerns of parents on the regional news programme Look North and Radio Humberside and invited the views of the BOS. Dr Deeming said the BOS was concerned about the long waiting lists and was putting pressure on NHS England to resolve the problem with more effective funding as well as addressing manpower problems in certain regions. ‘We are striving to make the point that not enough orthodontic activity is being purchased to meet the needs locally.’
He said there were inequities throughout the UK with young people able to access treatment immediately in some parts of the country while in others, such as Hull and East Riding, there were long waits. Roughly one in three young people under 18 qualify for NHS funded orthodontic treatment in the UK.
He stressed that it’s important for children and young people not to be referred for orthodontic treatment too early. There is an optimum time to embark on tooth-straightening and it will vary with each individual child.
‘My advice to families is to liaise with the family dentist so that your child is referred for treatment at the right time. Meanwhile, we will continue to work with NHS England as their over-haul of service commissioning continues.’