Wait is over for orthodontic patients

Patients in north Yorkshire who have had their orthodontic treatment delayed for months are finally being seen.

The cash-strapped North Yorkshire and York Primary Care Trust (PCT) imposed restrictions on orthodontic treatment and oral surgery in March, insisting that patients needing surgery such as wisdom tooth extraction or orthodontic treatment would have to be assessed by a primary care trust ‘exceptions’ panel first.

More than 800 people have had their cases sent to the PCT since then, resulting in a wait running into months for many patients.

Dr Jay Kindelan, lead clinician in orthodontics at York Hospital, said four of his clinics in Harrogate had been virtually empty of new patients over the last few months. But now nearly 60 patients have suddenly been sent to the hospital and he was having to lay on extra clinics to cope with the rapid workload. Some of the patients have been waiting for ten or 11 weeks to be referred.

Mr Kindelan told The Press newspaper: ‘I think the PCT should go back to a direct referral from the dentist to a hospital consultant.

‘This bureaucratic process is just holding patients up, and, in a lot of cases, inappropriately denying them access to our services.’

A PCT spokesman said: ‘The referrals are clinically assessed by an oral surgeon to see whether they would be best served by primary care, secondary care or specialist dental services.

‘The exceptions panel is used should a dentist feel that there is exceptional need for a patient to receive a particular type of care other than that decided through the initial assessment process, or if additional information about the case becomes available.’

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