The corona crisis has led to long waiting times for public dental health services in Norway

DentistPhoto: Caroline LM / Unsplash
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The waiting times in the public dental health service have almost tripled during the corona pandemic due to the infection control measures.

“All normal dental treatment was shut down almost overnight when the pandemic hit,” county dentist Bjørnar Hafell in Trøndelag told the newspaper Klassekampen. He fears that long waiting times for treatment will have major health consequences for patients.

Figures from Statistics Norway (SSB) indicate that at the end of 2019, there were 67,293 patients on waiting lists. By the end of 2020, the number had risen to 166,236 people.

Children, people in need of care, the elderly, the disabled, and the mentally disabled are among the groups that receive dental treatment through the public sector. 

Long waiting times

In addition, the county municipalities are responsible for organizing dental health services for people who have been subjected to torture, abuse, or for other reasons have a strong fear of dentists.

In order to receive treatment through this scheme, one must have an assessment appointment, and the waiting time for such an appointment has also increased considerably. 

In seven out of eleven regions, the waiting time is more than one year. Møre og Romsdal has a waiting time of four full years.

“It should be obvious to everyone that we need dental health reform,” SV leader Audun Lysbakken said on Saturday. He received support from Camilla Steinum, president of the Norwegian Dental Association. She believes the scheme should be expanded and improved.

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayNews

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