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Emergency dental services shake-up
Health bosses are planning to improve the district’s out-of-hours dental service.
A NHS team wants to merge five services into one county-wide system to reduce “inconsistencies and confusion”.
The service provides weekend or Bank Holiday dental treatment when other surgeries are closed, and also treats people who are either not registered with a dentist or who are visiting the area.
Currently, there are five separate services each offering the treatment for a different area of West Yorkshire – Bradford and Airedale, Leeds, Wakefield, Kirklees or Calderdale.
But the new plan is to introduce a standardised service across West Yorkshire so people have more choice about where they can go to for treatment – for example, if they wanted an appointment near their work rather than near their home.
In Bradford and Airedale, urgent dental treatment is currently provided by Bradford Salaried Dental Services at two sites.
It offers treatment seven days a week, including Bank Holidays, with patients referred by the NHS Direct helpline.
West Yorkshire’s dental services are currently overseen by five primary care trusts, which are due to be abolished in April under controversial Government reforms.
The commissioning of all the county’s dental services will then be taken over by one body, called the West Yorkshire Action Team.
This body has produced a report on its plan for urgent dental care, which is going before Bradford Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday.
The report says: “A unified service across West Yorkshire is expected to provide some significant benefits to patients, including that of greater choice – patients accessing the service will no longer be limited by the geographical boundaries of each constituent primary care trust, but would have the choice to access the service anywhere in West Yorkshire, regardless of their home address.”
People would be able to get an appointment by calling the new NHS 111 number, which is being introduced next month for non-emergency medical enquiries.
It is now starting a three-month consultation on its plan, with a questionnaire going out asking people how far they would be prepared to travel for an urgent dental appointment and whether it would be helpful to have a choice of different places to visit.
To participate, visit tinyurl.com/ UrgentDental, or call 01484 464025.