MADRID – In Spain, good dental care is generally not a priority, while a healthy mouth is very important for good health. Minister of Health García therefore wants to further expand the government’s oral care plan.
The Minister of Health, Mónica García, is open to including the unemployed and people over 65 in the oral care plan within public care (Seguridad Social). Until now, this care was only inclusive for the following;
- pregnant women
- children aged 6 to 14 years
- patients with mouth and throat cancer
- adults with intellectual disabilities
- persons with neuromuscular disorders
“There is currently little room for oral care within public health care. We want it to become an important part of the service offering. I recently mentioned people over 65, but this also includes the unemployed and vulnerable,” García said in a statement to the media last Monday.
Financial boost for dental care
Nevertheless, the Minister of Health emphasised that the government has recently given a financial boost to oral care. On October 30, the Council of Ministers approved the transfer of €68 million to the autonomous regions. The government wants to guarantee the implementation of the current oral care plan and improve services for 13 million citizens. The coverage of the oral care plan was extended to age groups from 0 to 6 years, persons with disabilities and diagnosed cancer patients. Preventive measures (oral hygiene) and specific care for pregnant women were already included in this plan.
The oral care plan includes periodic check-ups, preventive treatments such as tartar removal and sealing of teeth for the priority groups. The coverage of the oral care plan is slightly more extensive for children up to the age of 14 and people with disabilities. Certain fillings, braces and dental restoration treatments are also reimbursed for this group.
The minister also emphasised during the media moment that her current priorities lie with “the general character of the healthcare system, strengthening primary care, which is in poor condition, and the care of healthcare personnel”.
García was also asked about mental health. On that subject, the minister advocates an arrangement “with other ministries” to address the influence of social factors in this area. “We must ensure that there is no inequality, that there are good jobs, and we must protect the youth. Ensuring mental health requires a multidisciplinary approach. There needs to be agreement with other ministries and society to speak out that mental health is a problem in society. A problem that we must tackle from different angles,” said the minister.