More investment urged for needs of older people
BDA NI staff and representatives met the Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland, Eddie Lynch, in early June to highlight the increasing and ever-complex oral health care needs of a growing elderly population.
The Commissioner is an independent champion for older people who safeguards and promotes their interests, helping to advise and influence government.
Tristen Kelso, National Director of BDA NI, said: “The very strong view from our members is that we must do more to address the healthcare needs of our older people, particularly those within domiciliary care facilities, and beyond.
“Now, more than ever, we have an increasingly dentate elderly population that requires different and additional levels of care, but the resources simply haven’t kept pace. It’s vital that the oral health care needs of the older population are prioritised, along with all the other aspects of their general health and wellbeing.”
Grainne Quinn, Chair of BDA NI Salaried Dentists Committee, added: “Every day, colleagues working in CDS and also within GDS go to great lengths to provide the best oral care for older people. However, dental professionals want to be able to do more to address the growing needs of the older population, but that requires additional investment and a more joined-up approach across a number of key stakeholders.
“We welcome the Commissioner for Older People’s shared interest in addressing oral health issues within the older demographic, and in the context of ensuring better health and wellbeing outcomes for older people in general. We look forward to future collaboration with his office in championing older people’s oral health in the future.”
BDA NI is calling for a new Oral Health Strategy that seeks to address oral health challenges within the older demographic as well as focusing on child oral health and which takes a prevention-based approach.
BDA is calling on the Department of Health to make oral health a key priority, and recognise that oral health is directly linked with wider public health and wellbeing.