A portable x-ray device funded by the Henry Bloom Noble Healthcare Trust is improving access to dental services for vulnerable members of the community.
The trust, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, is committed to supporting public and private healthcare organisations and initiatives in the island.
As part of its remit, the trust has bought dental radiographic equipment for the Department of Health’s ‘salaried dental service’.
Established in 1888, following the death of Henry Bloom Noble’s wife Rebecca, the trust funds a wide range of healthcare provision, including equipment and training, using money raised through public donations and bequests.
The new portable x-ray equipment can be used in operating theatres as well as bringing the benefits of dental radiography to people unable to travel to dental clinics, such as care home residents.
Carolyn Lewis, clinical director of the salaried dental service, said special care dentists and support staff felt this had improved the equality of access to treatment as well as bringing other benefits to patients.
She said: ‘We are now able to take the portable x-ray set into theatre session at Noble’s Hospital, where digital x-rays can be viewed on a laptop computer.
The immediate benefits for patients who are only able to receive dental treatment under general anaesthetic are twofold. Firstly, they can now have routine x-rays taken, whereas this wasn’t possible in the past.
Secondly, we are diagnosing and treating dental decay which isn’t visible clinically. Both these benefits result in better outcomes for patients.
‘We have also used the equipment in care homes, for patients who are unable to travel to a dental clinic. The benefits are linked to improved diagnosis and treatment. This is the first time that groups of vulnerable patients have been able to access the same services as the rest of the population.’
She added: ‘I would like to thank the trustees on behalf of all of us in the service. The provision of funds to purchase this equipment is making a real difference to the oral health of a group of vulnerable patients who were previously disadvantaged.’
Chairman of the Trustees Larry Keenan said: ‘Through generous bequest and donations, the trust has acquired assets which allow the trustees to purchase equipment, support training and provide for health education initiatives. The aim is to provide healthcare provision to the Island which would not otherwise be available.
‘The purchase of this dental radiographic equipment is an excellent example of what the trust does. The salaried dental service identified a group of patients whose access to dental care was restricted and the equipment which could address that situation. The Trustees recognised the immense value a portable x-ray facility would have, especially for vulnerable members of our community whose ability to visit dental clinics had been limited. We are very pleased to hear the equipment is already showing benefits.’
Henry Bloom Noble was a generous benefactor to the island, who provided financial support to the church, health care services and to the public in many ways. The generosity of donors and benefactors allows the trust to continue helping to provide high quality healthcare services in the Isle of Man 125 years on.
Photograph: Specialist in special care dentistry, Beverley McClung demonstrates the portable x-ray device with assistance from dental nurse Charlotte Duggan