Free dentistry and eye care will be provided to Olympic athletes at a specially constructed £23 million Polyclinic in the Olympic Park. The 24-hour health centre, which expects to treat 200 athletes a day, has been funded by £17 million of NHS money plus £6 million from the £9.3 billion Olympics budget.
In addition to the usual sports injuries, the Polyclinic will offer free dentistry and eye care. These clinics are predicted to be the busiest, after physiotherapy, with around 120 eye tests performend a day and free glasses provided where necessary.
Organisers have stressed that the medical care at the Polyclinic will be “immediate and necessary”, not treatment for pre-existing conditions, but the dentistry clinic expects to treat a wider range of conditions.
“We would complete and finish a root canal for someone who might not be able to get it in their own country”, said Wendy Turner, one of the six dentists who will work in the clinic. “There will be competitors who haven’t had much access to dental care. It is an opportunity for them to get it sorted out”, he said.
Debbie Evans, director of sports, London Olympics Committee, said, “Even the most minor ailment can have serious implications upon an elite athlete’s performance. We have worked hard to equip the Polyclinic to respond quickly and provide athletes with the treatment they require onsite.”
After the games, organisers say the main Polyclinic site in Stratford will be reopened as an NHS facility for local residents, although much of the state-of-the-art equipment will be sold.