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Council chiefs call for more action over dental hygiene

29 September 2016

Council chiefs call for more action over dental hygiene

Council chiefs call for more action over dental hygiene as new figures reveal over 40% of children have not visited an NHS dentist in the past year.

In its annual report on dental statistics for England, NHS Digital found the number of children seen by an NHS dentist in the 12 months up to June 2016 was 6.7m - 57.9% of the child population.

A Local Government Association (LGA) spokesperson has described this statistic as ‘deeply worrying’ and warned of an ‘oral hygiene crisis’.

‘Hospitals spent £35m removing teeth in under 18s in 2014/15 - a 61% increase over five years - which shows the scale of the oral health challenge we face in children and young people,’ said Cllr Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the LGA's community wellbeing board.

‘Councils across the country are working with their communities to promote the importance of children having good oral hygiene, but clearly we need to take a national approach to the issue.’

NHS negligence claims hit 1.4 billion

NHS trusts in England paid out more than £1.4bn in medical negligence claims last year compared to £583m in 2008, analysis shows.

The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA), which handles claims on behalf of trusts, said it was trying to reduce the costs.

It blamed big rises in claims and legal costs from claimants.

Lawyers said the costs would not exist if the NHS had not been negligent and accused it of delaying claims.

The figures include defence and claimants' legal costs which can vary depending on who wins or loses and emerged from analysis by the BBC of NHSLA data.

The NHSLA covers health trusts for claims by taking money from them every year based on what the expected payouts will be, so as payouts rise so do premiums.

Neil Sugarman, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (Apil), said: "The cost to the NHS of its negligence should come as no surprise, in view of almost daily publicity about poor treatment and avoidable harm."

He said Apil had been talking to the government about ways to save money.

"This includes the NHSLA accepting failures when they happen and reducing costly delays in settling claims," he said.

"It takes a lot of work to prove a claim against a Goliath organisation like the NHS, which holds all the cards and information about the incident, so delays and unnecessary denials are unhelpful and costly.

"The NHSLA is its own worst enemy for pushing up costs against itself by dragging out claims and defending cases needlessly, only then to settle at the door of the court."

Common painkillers "increase heart failure risk"

Taking a common kind of painkiller is linked to an increased risk of heart failure, a study suggests.

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen and naproxen and diclofenac, are commonly used to treat pain and inflammation.

The British Medical Journal study looked at 10 million people, aged 77 on average, who took the drugs.

UK experts said the findings had little relevance for most under-65s but were a possible concern for elderly patients.

The study analysed data for the 10 million users - who were from the UK, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany - and compared them with people who did not take the drugs.

The researchers, from University of Milano-Bicocca in Italy, found taking NSAIDs increased the risk of being taken to hospital with heart failure by 19%.

Since most people in the study were older - and those on NSAIDs were, in general, in poorer health - UK experts said the findings had very little relevance for most under-65s but may be a concern for elderly patients.

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said patients should be on the lowest dose possible of NSAIDs for the shortest possible time.

Prof Peter Weissberg, medical director at the BHF, said: "This large observational study reinforces previous research showing that some NSAIDs, a group of drugs commonly taken by patients with joint problems, increase the risk of developing heart failure.

"It has been known for some years now that such drugs need to be used with caution in patients with, or at high risk of, heart disease.

"This applies mostly to those who take them on a daily basis rather than only occasionally.

"Since heart and joint problems often coexist, particularly in the elderly, this study serves as a reminder to doctors to consider carefully how they prescribe NSAIDs, and to patients that they should only take the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible time.

"They should discuss their treatment with their GP if they have any concerns."

What do you think? Have we let children down with their oral hygiene? Does the NHS need to step up to its problems? Are you now more likely to stop taking pain medication? 

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