"My mother in law's lost dentures."

About: Royal Surrey County Hospital / Trauma and orthopaedics

(as a carer),

This afternoon my mother in law (MIL) was transferred from the Royal Surrey County Hospital to Milford Hospital Rehab.

Two days ago her bottom dentures went missing and today the staff have been unable to confirm that they have been found and that she has them with her in transfer. We are advised to look for them when we visit her tomorrow at Milford and if they are not with her, Milford has to contact the RSCH who will, we understand fund replacement dentures. Sounds easy doesn't it?

My MIL has broken her hip in two places and is 92. She has a history of falls and has been to the RSCH and on to Milford on a number of occasions. She is extremely frail now, suffering an infection and under nourished. Her teeth are a vital element in her nutrition and without them she will be unable to eat properly.

As she has a broken hip, it will be some time before she is discharged and so we must find a peripatetic dentist who is willing to come to Milford Hospital to do the fitting. So not only is her nutrition impaired; we will have to go through hoops to organise a new set - it will cost about £250.00 which we understand the NHS will reimburse.

How do I know this? Because this exact thing happened last year when RSCH lost her bottom set and it costs £250.00 to replace them then.That time she was able to get to the dentist with the help of us, the family, (although it took weeks to get a replacement) but this time her prognosis is poor, that probably won't be possible.

This means that in the space of one year, the NHS has spent an additional £500.00 it need not , on one patient because of mislaid dentures. I wonder how often this happens every day on NHS inpatient wards?

It seems almost a trivial issue when we hear of so many other problems that patients endure - yet this could be an pivotal element in my MIL's recovery. The staff nurse's first reaction today was "We'll give you a chitty"- with little thought about the impact on the patient's well being or the cost to the NHS - How much does this cost the nation, I wonder in terms of the deteriorated nutrition of our elders and the financial loss to the nation?

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