A scheme to help children from low-income backgrounds get dental care is supporting 300 fewer youngsters than six years ago - with “weaknesses” identified in 2015 still yet to be rectified.
In 2015, there were 1,065 children on the Jersey Dental Fitness Scheme.
However, after steadily declining over the last six years, their number reached just 747 last year - a drop of nearly a third, according to figures recently published following a States Assembly question.
The scheme, which was introduced to assist parents with the cost of dental treatment, sees the Government pay a monthly fee for each child on the scheme, which is topped up by a parental contribution set by the he dentist.
Issues with scheme were first identified in 2015 after an independent review of dental services noted “some weaknesses”, and claimant numbers have continued to decline since then.
Six years later, the scheme still hasn’t been amended but the Social Security Minister, Deputy Judy Martin, told Express that development of a new “dental strategy” is currently underway.
It should include a model to improve services for children, that will seek “to secure good standards of oral health and the prevention of dental disease through health promotion and the creation of care pathways", she said.
Pictured: The Social Security Minister said work to create a new Dental Scheme was underway.
The pandemic delayed work on the model, but Deputy Martin said the Council of Ministers remains “committed to making improvements in dental provision” and a taskforce has been formed across departments to produce the Dental Strategy this year.
However, she refused to comment on the future of the scheme or what format it would adopt.
“There is a commitment in the current Government plan to bring forward a Preventative Model of Dental Care for children and the Government is currently reviewing dental provision as a whole,” she commented.
“Until this work is completed it is too soon to discuss the role the Scheme will play in the future.”
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