Select Committee on Health Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


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.


  3.1  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.

January 2001

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