Campaigners call for Leicestershire dental expert

Campaigners in Leicestershire are calling for an expert to oversee dentistry after a survey highlighted high rates of tooth decay in children.

An NHS report, published in October, found 45.3% of children under 12 in Leicester had tooth decay, compared with an England average of 17.5%.

The Leicestershire Dental Public Health Committee believes the county needs a sole public dental health consultant.

Leicestershire Primary Care Trust (PCT) said duties were shared by consultants.

In a statement, the PCT, which would have responsibility for appointing a dental health expert, said: "Dental responsibilities are currently shared among a number of [current] public health consultants.

"We have spent £2m over the past two years in Leicester alone to improve access for parents and their children, helping to create space for more than 6,000 new patients."

'Obvious' problem

Zuffar Haq, chair of the Leicester Patients Panel, echoed the committee's calls for a designated dental consultant to help tackle the problem of child tooth decay.

"There is obviously a problem somewhere which is why we need a specialist in post to look at what the problem is and what can be done to change that.

"There are sufficient dentists in Leicester now so we need to employ someone to look after dentistry in Leicestershire to make sure children are targeted and help and support parents."

The survey, in which 140 out of 152 PCTs took part, was undertaken by North West Public Health Observatory and The Dental Observatory.

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