During a visit to the Causeway Hospital in Coleraine on the evening of 19 March, Health Minister Michael McGimpsey praised its specialist dental unit.
The unit, staffed by members of the Community Dental Service (CDS), provides dental care for special needs patients such as those with a learning disability, physical disability or a compromising medical condition.
Mr McGimpsey said: ‘This specialist unit is a shining example of how a multidisciplinary team working together can deliver a first class service to patients.
‘I am pleased to see that the Trust has taken on one of the main recommendations from the Review of the Community Dental Service report and prioritised its dental services on providing care for special needs patients.’
Over the last two years the service at the Causeway Hospital has played an important role in addressing waiting time issues that were being experienced by learning disabled patients living in the Eastern Health and Social Services Board (EHSSB) area.
The dental service at Causeway Hospital has assessed 81 patients from the EHSSB and provided care for 78 of these patients, thus significantly reducing waiting times in the Eastern Board area.
The Minister added: ‘I particularly want to thank the staff here at Causeway for the important role they played in helping to reduce waiting times for learning disabled patients from the Eastern Health and Social Services Board over the past two years.’
The Community Dental Service (CDS) offers a full range of dental care to its patients and because of the complex needs of these patients, many of the dental procedures need to be undertaken under intravenous sedation or general anaesthetic. This type of care is time intensive and patients have most of their treatment undertaken at one visit.