Consultant in Dental Public Health
NHS Ayrshire & Arran
Maura Edwards is a Consultant in Dental Public Health in NHS Ayrshire & Arran. She has an interest in working with the priority groups originally identified in the 2005 Scottish Dental Action Plan, which included adults with additional care needs. Maura undertook a local oral health needs assessment in Ayrshire & Arran, the results of which showed that oral health improvement activity was required. Maura built on previous work started by dental colleagues in East Ayrshire linking with the Community Learning Disability Team, which led to the formation of the Dental Health Action Group. The Ayrshire & Arran Oral Health Improvement Team developed an oral health “Train the Trainer” programme for those who worked with adults with learning disabilities, which became the Open Wide pilot. As Maura was also chair of the National Older People’s Oral Health Improvement Group, which developed the Caring for Smiles Guide for Trainers, this was used as a basis for Open Wide. When the national group was established to improve the oral health of adults with additional care needs, they agreed to adopt the Open Wide guide and develop it further for national use for all adults with additional care needs.
Maura’s local work for adults with learning disabilities continued with her involvement in developing good links between dental services and the Learning Disability Liaison Nurses to improve the experience for those being admitted for dental treatment. Maura has also been a member of the group which implemented the Ayrshire & Arran general health improvement strategy for adults with learning disabilities “We want good health, the same as you”. Oral health improvement is a vital element of overall health improvement, with training of trainers forming an important part of the approach.