Children call for mobile dentist to come back to Corwen

Reporter:

Josh Morris

Children in Corwen and Bala have been left without dental care for months after a well-used service was condemned as unsafe with no replacement available.

Campaigners are calling for the service, which served 4,000 in 2016 and treated 500, to be brought back.

Cerys Howell and Evan Parry, have been appointed “super ambassadors” by the Children’s Commissioner in Wales. 

The children have written to the Health Board asking for the service to be reintroduced.

The unit visited schools in deprived areas across Gwynedd, Denbighshire and Wrexham.

The loss of service means many children would face long journeys to Wrexham or Ruthin for dental check-ups and the two champions felt that was damaging to their health.

Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board say they have applied for funding for a replacement vehicle.

Llyr Gruffydd AM said: “The mobile dental unit provides a vital service. It gives children regular check-ups and ensures that those who need treatment receives it. I’m calling on the Health Board and the Welsh Government to ensure that money is made available to buy a new vehicle as soon as possible so that the children’s oral health does not suffer.”

“The figures show how important this unit is to the children it serves – it’s often the only access they have to a dentist. 41% of children across the UK have evidence of tooth decay, with rates higher for those in deprived populations.

“It is also the most common single reason why children aged five to nine require admission to hospital. Therefore providing a new mobile dental unit will save the Health Board significant sums in the long term. It’s an investment in our future and failing to make that investment would be letting down a whole generation of kids.

“I have to say that I’m hugely impressed with the work these two super ambassadors have put in to raise this matter. They are arguing, quite rightly, that they have a right to be heard on this important matter of health and that they have the right to grow up as healthily as possible.”

Denbighshire Councillor for Corwen Huw Jones added: “It’s great to see the children taking the initiative in this way.

“They’re a great credit to the school and the local community.

“I’ll be doing all I can and working with Llyr, Cerys and Evan to make sure we get this mobile unit back on the road."

A spokesman for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said: “The mobile dentistry vehicle was taken out of service in summer 2016 after being deemed unfit for use.

“We have bid for funding to purchase a replacement vehicle, and are looking into ways of redeploying other mobile dentistry resources to provide support in the area.”

See full story in the Free Press

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