Epilepsy Society launches ‘FixIt4Free’ Campaign


  Posted by: Dental Design      31st October 2023

The Epilepsy Society is calling on the NHS to provide free dental repairs for people with epilepsy whose teeth are damaged as a result of their seizures.

The UK charity has launched a campaign called FixIt4Free, after hearing from many people with epilepsy that they are struggling to afford treatment after breaking or knocking out teeth, sometimes on repeated occasions.

Data from a survey carried out by the charity shows that half of people who have suffered dental injuries during a seizure, have not had them repaired because they can’t afford the treatment. 69% had broken or chipped teeth, 61% had painful jaws and 31% had lost teeth.

The NHS offers a number of payment exemptions for dental treatment, such as free treatment for pregnant women, under 18s in England and under 26s in Scotland, but there are currently no medical exemptions. The NHS Low Income Scheme covers costs for some people, but 76 per cent of respondents to the Epilepsy Society survey said they were not eligible.

The charity has launched a petition that has attracted sixteen and a half  thousand signatures, and is urging supporters to write to their MP to raise awareness and ask for help with the campaign.  It is also asking people with epilepsy to share their experiences of NHS dentistry, as 80 per cent of survey respondents raised concerns about their dentist’s awareness of the condition and over half reported struggles with long waiting lists.

“If a person breaks their nose, or their arm or leg as a result of a seizure, the injury will be repaired for free on the NHS. But if they break their teeth – and many with epilepsy do – they are expected to foot the bill themselves or get by without their teeth”  said Clare Pelham, Chief Executive at the Epilepsy Society. “When someone is too scared to smile because half their teeth are missing, they instantly lose their self-confidence, stop going out, withdraw into themselves and become isolated.  Teeth are not an optional cosmetic accessory, they are an intrinsic part of who we are and how we communicate with one another.

“There are 200,000 people in the UK with uncontrolled seizures.  When they crash to the ground without warning, the NHS must be there to pick up the pieces, literally.  We all know the NHS is struggling, but the financial burden should not fall on people who are already coping with a debilitating disability.  We must all do what we can to support the NHS.  But it is not right to stand back and watch people with epilepsy shoulder the cost alone in broken teeth and shattered self-confidence.”

To find out more about the campaign and sign the petition, visit https://epilepsysociety.org.uk/FixIt4Free

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