"Toothless dental service for people with HIV and Haemophilia"

About: Morriston Hospital Singleton Hospital

(as the patient),

Up until very recently what dental treatment I received was through the dental department at Morriston hospital in Swansea. This was on the advice of the senior consultant at the local haemophilia centre, as local anaesthetics administered for fillings and extractions, and extractions themselves can, if not treated prophylacticly with Factor VIII, lead to excessive bleeding. However, over the years, the treatment I received at the hospital's dental department was very poor. There were no routine check-ups or maintenance work, with treatment mainly limited to reactive or emergency work when I would contact them with a problem.

Even this though, was problematic as the usual response to my contacting them was that I should go to my own dentist. When I would patiently explain that they were my "own dentists", there was always a problem finding my records and a continuing insistence that just because I was HIV+ did not mean that I needed to be treated by them. Through gritted teeth I would agree with them, but then tell them that my treatment at the hospital had been recommended on account of my haemophilia. Sometimes this information was enough to get me an emergency appointment, but more often than not I would have to ring the haemophilia consultant and get him or her to speak to the dental department on my behalf.

Throughout my time as a patient with the department I was continuously urged to register with a dentist in the community. This is easier said than done, given the lack of space on dentist's patient lists, and it is compounded by may being HIV+ and having haemophilia. Most dentists do not want to have to deal with these complications. I would not have felt so cast adrift if the department had given me a list of sympathetic dentists with space on their patient lists, but no such list was forthcoming. In the end, I was lucky to find a dentist through a friend, willing to take me on as a patient. The service I have received from this dentist has been exceptional and puts the shoddy treatment at Morriston to shame. I was made to feel like a second class patient by the latter, given second class, reactive treatment which, I am convinced, contributed to the deterioration of my dental health over the last ten years.

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