Rising prices force Danes to postpone dental appointments

Danes are prioritising food and heating over dental care, according to a new survey of dentists in Denmark.

Dental care
According to a recent survey, around 70 percent of dentists say that patients are delaying or cancelling appointments more frequently than usual. Photo by Jonathan Borba / Unsplash

Seven out of ten dentists believe that patients are postponing or cancelling their dental appointments more often than usual, according to a new survey carried out by the Dental Association among 622 dental clinics throughout the country.

Furthermore, approximately 90 percent of dentists who participated in the poll believe inflation is to blame.

A high number of cancelled appointments

The dental clinic Holmberg in Vordingborg is particularly affected by the cancellations, clinic manager Lone Hansen noted.

“We have more cancellations now than we have had before. Normally we’re fully booked in December, but now we get cancellations every single day,” she added.

Hansen believes that a large proportion of patients are cancelling this year because they cannot afford dental care.

“We hear from patients who call and say that they have to postpone their appointment because they have received a high gas or electricity bill that they did not expect,” she accentuated.

“Deeply worrying”

Susanne Kleist of the Danish Dental Association thinks it’s frightening that Danes cannot maintain the regularity of appointments that is important for good dental health.

“It is deeply worrying for our health that people are opting out of regular check-ups because of their personal finances,” she said.

“We have never seen anything so extreme. Not even during corona or other crises…

“Patients run the risk of having to treat a problem that could have been prevented. They’re simply worse off as patients,” Kleist told DR.

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Danish hospital made 293 cancer patients wait too long for surgery

Some 293 bowel cancer patients at Aarhus University Hospital waited longer than they should have to undergo surgery.

Danish hospital made 293 cancer patients wait too long for surgery

The Central Jutland health authority, which administrates the hospital in Aarhus, gave the figure in a review it released on Thursday.

The admission from the regional health board comes after broadcaster DR had reported that 182 patients with serious bowel cancer had waited too long for an operation at Aarhus University Hospital (AUH).

The period covered by DR’s reporting is May to December 2022, while the figure from Region Central Jutland is for January 2022 until February 2023.

Danish law requires cancer patients to be operated on within two weeks of the decision to operate being made.

But the Region Central Jutland review shows that the surgery deadline for patients at the department for stomach and bowel surgery at AUH was exceeded by up to 56 days.

On average, the two-week waiting time was exceeded by an average of 12.7 days for the 293 patients, according to the review.

“AUH cannot rule out that the extra waiting time for operations has caused a deterioration of disease in some of the patients who waited longer than the maximum waiting times,” the review states.

The review was ordered by the Danish Health Authority after the waiting time issue was reported by DR last weekend.

AUH’s stomach and bowel surgery is highly specialised to a degree that some patients with advanced bowel cancer cannot be treated anywhere else in Denmark, according to news wire Ritzau.

Failure to operate within deadlines is primarily a result of a shortage of nurses at the department, according to the review.

“The shortage of nurses has meant that it was necessary to remove beds for the entirety of 2022 at Stomach and Bowel Surgery, AUH,” it states.

The executive director of Region Central Jutland, Helene Bilsted Probst, writes in the review that the authority “looks on this matter very seriously”.

A number of measures have been initiated to ensure the department complies with waiting times, the review also says.

Region Central Jutland is set to meet with Danish Health Authority officials over the matter on Friday. Possible national measures will reportedly be discussed at the meeting, including a potential plan to ensure highly specialised surgical procedures can be conducted at more than one hospital in Denmark.

READ ALSO: What exactly is wrong with the Danish health system?