STRUCTURE: South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is considering centralising its specialist orthodontic services.

Currently the specialist orthodontics are provided at the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough; the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton; Bishop Auckland General hospital; Darlington Memorial hospital; and the University Hospitals of North Tees and Hartlepool.

In a statement, the trust said: “Currently our clinicians provide this service at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton, as well as a number of other hospitals – Bishop Auckland General, Darlington Memorial and the University Hospitals of North Tees and Hartlepool.

“However, as the NHS moves towards providing care much closer to patients’ homes, the vast majority of the routine treatment can now be done by orthodontists working in a community-based setting.

“This has led to a significant drop in the numbers of patients being referred into hospitals as only people with complex needs require that specialist level of treatment…”

It added: “The proposed change is to create a specialist orthodontic centre in two phases from January 2012 which will provide treatment from the James Cook and Friarage sites.”