A dental surgery in Wales has sent patients letters telling them that they will be referred to a hospital for treatment if they are overweight, citing the safety of staff and the expensive dental equipment as reasons for the warning.
Maendy Dental Practice in Aberdare says that it has been forced to stop morbidly obese patients from visiting the surgery because the chairs cannot hold them; if the chair cannot move properly when the patient is seated, the letter states that they will be referred to a hospital for continued treatment.
The letter says that ‘the dental chair has a weight limit restriction’ and if patients are too heavy for this the treatment will have to be carried out at a hospital, where the right equipment can be provided. The specialist chairs cost at least £7,500 and can’t hold anyone over the weight of twenty stone. A spokeswoman for the dental practice said ‘we have found that more and more patients are coming into the practice a bit larger so when the chair is moved back we cannot operate it properly.’ She added ‘Some people who visit us are unable to move themselves in and out of the chair so we want to make sure staff don’t injure themselves when they help lift them.’
The letters have been sent out since May after posters around the surgery went unnoticed and obese patients continued to arrive for appointments.