"Dentures: the story continues"

About: Crawley Hospital / Gastroenterology East Surrey Hospital / Gastroenterology

(as a relative),

A warm 2013 welcome to all my readers.

Previously on Mikey:

A patient, aged 91 years young, was admitted to East Surrey Hospital (ESH) in late June 2012.

Whilst in East (ESH) they managed to loose her lower denture set. Paperwork proved that she entered ESH with a complete set and a suspected fractured hand, being used at the time as a drip line in, meant that she would have been unable to remove the denture set herself.

On her transfer to Crawley Hospital (CH) the CEO of ESH arranged with Matron that she could stay whilst a replacement denture set was fabricated. This seemed like a good idea at the time as the Community Dental unit was only a few feet away from the ward. Sadly a decision was made to use the ESH dental unit instead who travelled out weekly (and sometimes not) to visit Crawley.

Historically, dentures were first available around 700BC, Etruscans in northern Italy made dentures out of human or other animal teeth. These deteriorated quickly but, being easy to produce, were popular until the mid-19th century.

Now read on:

With the above historical background she believed ESH dental unit would come up with the goods within the projected six week timeframe. Sadly this was not to be. Missed appointments and problems with the dental laboratory were given as excuses to Crawley whose patience finally ran out in late October 2012.

The patient transferred to a nursing home and the visits from ESH dental unit continued until mid December 2012 when a functioning set of teeth was finally delivered after a period of some twenty two weeks! Sadly, on the last visit the upper anchor tooth cracked and half the tooth fell out of her mouth.

This all seems a sad reflection on 21st century medical practice.

In 1670 false teeth could be ordered by post! A Mrs Purefoy sent her London ‘operator for the teeth’ a piece of wood showing where her teeth were (having bitten on it) and a piece of tape marked with the length of her gums. The teeth she got had to be adjusted only once and they cost her £3 4s.

Sadly on the 1st January 2013 the patient was admitted to Maidstone Hospital with a severe attack of ulcerative colitis. She is still unable to wear the false teeth supplied by ESH dental unit and medical staffs at the hospital believe her weight losses may have something to do with the lack of a viable set of dentures over an extended period of time.

All the above tends to reinforce her late husbands comment …”these doctors are still basically feeling their way, after two thousand years and more of medical practice.”

As professional consulting medical physicist, I believe I think I can see where he was coming from.

If I were the CEO of East Surrey Hospital, rather than offering a meeting to discuss the current situation I would be scouring the skip left after the completion of the new multi-million pound entrance to ESH, for a bit of wood to send to Sussex together with a length of medical tape from the hospital stores.

In the meantime the patient will make use of the private sector to fix her tooth and evaluate the supplied NHS dentures.

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Response from Eloise Clarke, Communications Manager, Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

Dear ‘Mikey’

We have communicated many times, and your invitation to visit East Surrey Hospital to meet with the Chief Executive and the matron involved in your mother’s care is still open.

As you know from our previous conversations, we are very sorry about the loss of your mother’s lower set of dentures and we fitted a new set within four weeks. Surrey and Sussex Healthcare Trust does not make dentures at Crawley Hospital, therefore the dentures could not be made at Crawley, despite your mother staying at this hospital. It would be like asking John Lewis for a refund for something you bought at Debenhams.

On fitting the new lower set of dentures, we noticed that the top set were poorly fitting and as a goodwill gesture, our technician tried, unsuccessfully, to adjust these dentures to make them more comfortable. Because there was an estimated wait of several months for a new set of top dentures from the healthcare provider responsible for providing your mother with properly fitting dentures, as another goodwill gesture, we agreed to make a brand new set of top dentures. These were delivered within three weeks. Our doctor made three further visits to your mother in response to requests. We have never missed or cancelled an appointment.

The poorly fitting dentures your mother had been wearing when she came into our care and before we made her a complete new set of top and bottom dentures, might have made it uncomfortable for your mother to eat certain foods.

I expect the dentures made in 1670 from impressions made on a piece of wood were not very comfortable.

Most importantly, I hope your mother is feeling better. Please, if you would like to discuss dentures or any other aspect of your mother’s care, please contact me.

Many thanks,


  • {{helpful}} {{helpful == 1 ? "person thinks" : "people think"}} this response is helpful

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