Patients face two-year wait to see dentist after waiting times double during coronavirus pandemic

PATIENTS are facing a two-year wait for dental surgery as waiting times have doubled in the last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Many people suffering with serious tooth problems have not been seen by specialists – months after being sent to hospitals by their high street dentists.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Patients have been left in agony awaiting dentist appointments because of delays caused by the lockdown

1

Patients have been left in agony awaiting dentist appointments because of delays caused by the lockdownCredit: Alamy

Dentist appointments had to be rescheduled because of the coronavirus lockdown, which pushed back surgeries and left tens of thousands in agony during the lengthy delays.

On top of routine checks, the delays have caused fears that people with early symptoms of serious mouth diseases may have been missed.

Matthew Garrett, of the dental faculty at the Royal College of Surgeons, said: “It is inevitable that planned dental surgery will be affected and these operations will be delayed. 

“Where it is safe to do so, we need to try to keep services going. 

“Already a considerable backlog has been created, and waiting lists will become insurmountable if we halt again, with disastrous consequences for patients.”

It’s been estimated that as many as 14million appointments have been missed across Britain – and it will take many more months to clear the backlog of check-ups, according to figures obtained by the DailyMail.

The average wait time at the Eastman Hospital in central London has almost doubled, from 16 weeks last October to 28 at the end of August. 

DENTIST DELAYS

The longest wait time, reaching nearly two years, soared from 60 weeks to 92 weeks for a patient needing corrective treatment to their teeth in the orthodontics department.

One of the victims of the long delays is a child, who has also been waiting 86 weeks to be seen by paediatrics specialists at the hospital.

One 7-year-old Jessica Brown was suffering from a wobbly baby tooth that was growing out of an extension to her gum back in March.

But instead of being treated by her local dental surgery in Norfolk, her father was told they would not seen anyone unless the patient was “bleeding or in agony.”

The tooth was removed in September after Jessica’s dad begged a specialist – who said that the 7-year-old’s gum “had thinned so much that the tooth came out in the dentist’s hand.”

In total, 10,303 patients are on the waiting list needing some form of oral surgery.

In total, 7,781 patients have been waiting more than 18 weeks between referral and treatment.

A spokesperson for University College London Hospital said: “[The trust] took a decision… to transform its services to be able to treat Covid-19 patients as well as the sickest patients in the community.

 “This meant that routine dental appointments were temporarily halted.”

Meanwhile, waiting times have almost tripled at both Liverpool University and Birmingham Dental Hospital.

Eddie Crouch, of the British Dental Association, said some patients waiting for hospital treatment will end up

Read more

Study: 30% of nursing facilities in COVID-19 ‘hot spots’ wait 3 days or more for test results

Oct. 30 (UPI) — Nearly one-third of skilled nursing facilities situated in COVID-19 hot spots across the United States still are waiting three days or more for virus test results for staff and residents as of the end of September, according to a report published Friday by JAMA Internal Medicine.

Nationally, just under 40% of all of these facilities — which including residential and rehabilitation centers staffed with nurses, physical and occupational therapists, speech pathologists and audiologists — indicated that it took three days or more to receive COVID-19 test results for residents and staff, the data showed.

The findings were as of Sept. 27, or more than two months after Medicare began to distribute rapid, point-of-care tests to generate results in one day or less to these facilities, the researchers said.

While the number of facilities receiving test results in a day or less doubled in some areas during September, researchers say the progress is not sufficient enough.

“Rapid testing turnaround is critical to prevent outbreaks in nursing homes — and elsewhere — but only a tiny fraction of homes have access to turnaround that is less than one day,” study co-author Dr. Michael L. Barnett told UPI.

“With slower turnaround, staff with COVID-19 and no symptoms will circulate in a facility and spread infection before the positive test comes back,” said Barnett, assistant professor of health policy and management at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health.

Nursing homes and assisted-living facilities across the country were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the spring, accounting for 40% of all virus-related deaths nationally, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

As a result, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began to distribute “rapid” virus testing kits to these facilities in July. The tests could be administered on-site and provide results in one day or less, agency officials said.

The agency requires facilities located in areas with low rates — less than 5% — of COVID-19 transmission to test residents and staff members monthly.

However, those based in hot spots — with up to 10% or more of virus transmission — should be testing staff and residents at least twice weekly, according to officials.

For this analysis, Barnett and his colleagues analyzed data from 15,065 — or 98% — of the skilled nursing facilities included in the Medicare COVID-19 Nursing Home Database. The database is a federally mandated weekly assessment of all Medicare-certified facilities, to examine facility-reported test result turnaround time.

As of Sept. 27, 14% of all facilities nationally said they received COVID-19 test results for staff members in one day or less, up from 6.2% three weeks earlier, the data showed.

By that same date, 10% of facilities reported getting test results for residents in one day or less, an increase from 5% earlier in the month.

In “hot spot counties” — with high rates of community spread of the virus — the number of facilities that reported test turnaround of one day or

Read more

Endometriosis patients wait eight years to be diagnosed

Pelvic pain stomachache concept. Hands of young woman on stomach as suffer on menstruation cramp, indigestion,gastrointestinal,diarrhea problem
Abdominal pain is one of the main symptoms of endometriosis. (Posed by a model, Getty Images)

Endometriosis takes on average eight years to be diagnosed in the UK, a report has found.

The disorder affects one in 10 women of a reproductive age. It occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other parts of the body, usually the ovaries or fallopian tubes.

Each menstrual cycle, these cells break down and bleed, much like a period, except the blood has no way of leaving the body.

As well as reduced fertility, the main symptom is pain, which may be felt in the abdomen, during sex or when urinating.

Read more: Endometriosis patients ‘finally feel believed’

The vague signs mean endometriosis is often misdiagnosed as irritable bowel syndrome, a urinary tract infection or just heavy periods.

Despite the condition’s wide prevalence, a report by the All-Party Political Group has revealed endometriosis diagnosis rates have not improved in more than a decade.

Healthcare concept of professional psychologist doctor consult in psychotherapy session or counsel diagnosis health.
Many patients feel their doctor is in the dark about the condition. (Posed by models, Getty Images)

More than 10,000 endometriosis patients took part in the inquiry, which was launched after BBC research found around half had experienced suicidal thoughts as a result of their pain.

The report’s authors found more than half (58%) of the women visited their GP more than 10 times before being diagnosed, while 53% went to A&E with symptoms, unaware they had endometriosis.

Most of the participants claimed their mental health, education or career had been damaged by the condition, with more than a third (35%) saying their income had been cut as a result.

Read more: Irregular periods linked to early death

One woman who knows the impact of this all too well is Helen-Marie Brewster, 28, from Hull.

“I failed most of my GCSEs because I was in bed, in crippling pain,” she told the BBC.

“I’ve lost nearly every job I’ve ever had because of my poor attendance.

“Last year I visited A&E 17 times trying to find help and pain relief for this condition, even for just a few days so I can keep going.”

Watch: Geordie Shore star in tears over ‘excruciating’ endometriosis pain

Around nine in 10 (90%) of the inquiry’s participants would have liked access to psychological support, which they were never offered.

The report’s authors therefore recommend compulsory menstrual wellbeing should be taught in schools throughout the UK. It is only compulsory in English schools.

Read more: Menopausal delay surgery has ‘no evidence’

With many of the participants claiming their medics seemed to be in the dark about endometriosis, the authors also want training for GPs, nurses and gynaecologists to be reviewed, as well as greater investment into diagnoses and treatments.

A woman with suspected endometriosis usually has her abdomen and vagina examined by a GP. She may then be referred for an ultrasound scan.

The only way to be sure of endometriosis is a test called a laparoscopy, which involves

Read more
  • Partner links