The Council of Ministers is seeking changes to the recommendations of the Oral Health in Children Report, to align with existing work which is planned to improve services and update the information available to parents and carers.
The original Social Affairs Policy Review Committee report made seven recommendations to support the continued reduction in the number of children experiencing decay or oral health issues.
Since 2017 the oral health of children on the Island has been improving with less than a quarter of children under five experiencing any decay.
Despite the decline, it is important not to become complacent, and Government will keep making progress to ensure all children have equitable access to treatments.
The recommendations made in the original report include updating the implementation plan for the Oral Health Strategy 2021-26, introducing the ‘Smile of Mann’ programme to nurseries, reducing levels of decay in children who aren’t registered with an NHS dentist and undertaking a dental care campaign.
Council of Ministers accepted the principles of the recommendations, but have proposed three amendments to reflect the work which is already underway.
Part of these amendments include amalgamating the implementation plans for the Oral Health and Dental Strategies, tasking Public Health with researching the possibility of fluoridation of water to help reduce levels of tooth decay, and the relaunch of a revised Smile in Mann programme with a review point to determine impact.
Minister for Health and Social Care, Lawrie Hooper MHK, said in the response:
‘The health of our Island residents is of utmost importance and in particular, protecting the island’s children and their future. We recognise that all children need to be given equitable access to treatments, both preventative and remedial, in order for them to thrive and for us to be able to provide services which are sustainable for the future, in line with the vision set by Our Island Plan.’
The Committee’s recommendations and the suggested amendments from the Council of Ministers will be discussed at the May sitting of Tynwald.