Patients with long-term facial pain are costing the economy over £3,000 each every year, a new study has found.
Patients with persistent long-term face and mouth pain not caused by toothache spend £650 a year on things like travel and prescription costs.
Whilst employers lose out on almost £2,500 every year due to staff absence and loss of productivity.
‘Our research shows that people have to go around the proverbial “mulberry bush”, visiting lots of different healthcare professionals to even get close to obtaining a diagnosis never mind beginning treatment for their condition,’ Justin Durham, professor of orofacial pain and deputy dean of clinical medicine, said.
‘A better and more defined care pathway would improve care for those with persistent facial pain and help reduce their costs and those to the economy.’
Speeding up diagnosis
Newcastle University, who carried out the research, estimates that 7% of the population has persistent orofacial pain (POFP).
Within a six month period, participants reported an average of nine healthcare appointments, and those employed reported missing almost two days off work.
The research suggests that an electronic referral system would help to speed up diagnosis and treatment.
‘Dentists working in hospitals will have seen patients who have failed to get priority, some on the verge of suicide in the face of unmanageable pain,’ Peter Dyer, chair of the BDA’s Central Committee for Hospital Dental Staff, said.
‘This important research is a timely reminder that facial pain carries a huge personal and financial cost, and patients need not face barriers securing care.
‘When so many people have been laid low by this condition GPs and high street dentists need a clear pathway to ensure patients can get the right treatment, when they need it.’
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