Memorandum by Age Concern (D17)
1.1 Age Concern England (the National Council
on Ageing) brings together Age Concern Organisations working at
a local level and 100 national bodies, including charities, professional
bodies and representational groups with an interest in older people
and ageing issues. Through our national information line, which
receives 285,000 telephone and postal enquiries a year, and the
information services offered by local Age Concern organisations,
we are in day to day contact with older people and their concerns.
1.2 Age Concern has identified two areas
that are not adequately considered in the document "Modernising
NHS Dentistry" which will impact on the access older people
have to NHS dentistry in the long term.
2.1 Oral health and access to oral health
services are essential for older people. Despite this, many older
people experience difficulty in accessing community health services,
such as dentistry, especially those older people living in residential
and nursing homes.
2.2 The document does not fully acknowledge
the difficulties that older people may have (both physically and
financially) in accessing new Dental Access Centres.
2.3 Age Concern believes that there needs
to be improvements made to the accessibility and provision of
transport and financial assistance for older people to access
dentistry facilities within the community.
3. LOW INCOME
3.1 Financial assistance is essential for
many older people, although the schemes to provide financial assistance
can be very complex. Older people may find it difficult to either
know about the availability of financial assistance, or to work
out whether they are entitled to reduced charges.
3.2 The Low Income Scheme is complex, and
whilst this may be unavoidable, Age Concern believes that this
is often a barrier to older people claiming the financial support
to which they are entitled. The emphasis on countering fraudulent
claims can deter older people unnecessarily from claiming support.
3.3 Clear information needs to be disseminated
to older people regarding the scheme and eligibility criteria.
Older people are often required to provide the same information
in applying for a variety of financial support schemes (for example
income support) and there needs to be co-ordination of this to
minimise barriers to people claiming their entitlement.