Patients in north east Essex, who have not seen a dentist for two years, are being offered free ‘course of treatment’ vouchers.
It’s the brainchild of North East Essex Primary Care Trust (PCT) who claim to be the only trust making this offer.
And on the streets, the PCT will be offering free assessments to adults as well as university students on campus.
In addition, the PCT plans to increase capacity to ensure those patients who have gone without a dentist for 24 months have access to a practice following their ‘free’ course of treatment (which includes up to a band 3 course of treatment to get them dentally fit).
Patients will receive a list of all the practices that are participating where they can receive that treatment.
There are 25 practices taking part in these initiatives and they will be providing appointments outside their normal working hours (evenings) and weekends.
The assessments for those patients not eligible as a 24-month patient will be able to get free assessment in 10 locations across North East Essex, including Sainsbury’s Colchester, Leisure World Colchester, Clacton Town Centre, and Tesco 24-hour store in Clacton.
Last summer, ‘street’ dentists were out and about in Essex, offering free check-ups to children and they saw 1,200 children in two days – 20% of those children needed follow-up treatment where they provided a practice for them to have that treatment
A spokesperson for the PCT said: ‘Those patients who would not have been seen for 24 months would probably need a lot of treatment and this would be costly to return to a practice, by providing ‘free’ treatment we are encouraging them to have the treatment needed to be dentally fit and by providing access, following their treatment, we hope they will then continue to attend regularly.
‘It is a matter of being proactive in finding those patients rather than wait for them to come to us.’