January 9th, 2012
Private dentists in Israel have criticised the Government’s free dentistry scheme for children. In fact, many perceive it as an unmitigated disaster.
The programme was launched in August 2010 with the initial aim of giving all children free dental care up to age 8. In June last year, the plan was rolled out to other children up to age 10, and is expected to be further developed to include all children up to and including 18 year olds.
However, private dentists argue they cannot compete with this free service, and so have called for it to be scrapped. They also criticise the scheme as being limited in its scope. What’s more, it is said that the amount of money being put into the scheme is insufficient to cover anything more than just a first check up and cleaning.
The new government system has also been criticised for employing dental practitioners to carry out work on a piece by piece basis. As they are not salaried state employees, they are only paid for each procedure carried out and it is thought it could be damaging to patient care, as procedures are likely to be rushed in order to receive bigger payments. As such, dentists believe the new scheme is not only damaging to the profession but is also damaging to children’s dental care.
Prior to being launched, the Israeli government health department was lobbied by the Israeli Dental Association to allow private dentists to be involved in the system, but this was refused. The health minister wanted to implement the new scheme as quickly as possible and felt inclusion of private dentists would delay its implementation. He did accede to the idea of a dental fund in which parents could purchase services off a private dentist. However to date, this has not been set up.
October 21st, 2011
In something of a throw back to the 1950s and 1960s, Sacriston Dental Health Centre has linked up with a local primary school in Sacriston village near Chester le Street, Durham. During those previous decades dentists regularly attended primary schools to check pupils’ teeth and advise staff of any potential problems. Over the years, this visitation, along with those of the school nurse and ‘nitty Nora’ has been abolished.
Pupils from the school aged 6 and 7 were invited to visit the clinic to see what goes on. They were also taught a valuable lesson about the dangers of eating too much sugary food and not brushing their teeth and gums correctly. The children were all encouraged to clean their teeth twice a day.
Speaking with local reporters, Kirstin Farquar who works at the clinic said: “I would like to encourage parents to bring their children to the dentist as soon as possible to get them used with the surroundings, the smell and the noises associated with dentistry so that when they do get into the chair themselves they feel relaxed and comfortable.
Dr. Farquar added: “By bringing local school children into the practice it helps us to get the messages across in a fun way about how important it is that they look after their teeth and how best they do that.”
With many dentists having left the NHS, it is quite possible that parents no longer visit their dentist as regularly as they would have. If this is the case, it is also likely to have a knock on effect upon their children. However, children under 20 are legally allowed free dentistry services, something not all parents may be aware of.