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Ministers accused of ‘neglecting NHS dentistry’ in Wales

12 Sep 2023 2 minute read
Photo by Quang Tri NGUYEN on Unsplash

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have accused the Welsh Government of neglecting NHS dentistry after releasing new figures detailing the high level of contracts being returned to health boards.

According to data revealed by the party, in the year to April 2023, 22 NHS dentistry contracts were returned to local health boards at a value of more than £7.4m.

A further seven practices reduced their NHS commitment, to a value of £1.6m.

Commenting after two dental practices in Pembrokeshire announced they would be ending their NHS provision later this year, the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats Jane Dodds, said: “Thousands of people across the country are being denied NHS dental treatment because Labour Ministers in Cardiff Bay have failed to take any real responsibility for the crisis in NHS dentistry.

“The decision of two more practices in Hywel Dda to end their NHS commitment will mean people in Whitland and Haverfordwest will find it even harder to be treated by an NHS dentist.

“They will join the thousands of people who have faced waiting months for treatment, travelling miles to access an NHS dentist, or paying for private care.

“The Welsh Government is neglecting NHS dentistry, and we risk more and more dentists across the country voting with their feet and leaving the NHS if Labour Ministers don’t act now.”

“Fairer”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “Around 95% of general dental services have been retained since April 2022. For the 5% that have been handed back, the funding remains with the health board for it to commission replacement services. Where contracts are terminated or reduced in value, most are successfully re-procured.

“We have increased funding for dentistry by more than £27m compared to 2018-19, including an extra £2m a year since last year for health boards to address local access issues. Nearly 235,000 patients who have historically not been able to get a dental appointment have gained access since April 2022.

“We have also started formal negotiations for a new dental contract which aim to develop a contract that is fairer for both patients and the dental profession”.


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Aching Tooth
Aching Tooth
7 months ago

I couldnt agree more. Whats the point of having free dental care for over 60’s when theres no NHS dentist to do it? The NHS need to stop reliance on the private sector and directly employ dentists at local health centres.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
7 months ago

Not for the first time, I find myself conflicted by a comment from Jane Dodds, a/the Liberal Democrat. I find it bizarre that you can approach the NHS with any bodily ailment EXCEPT one involving teeth which appear to have been singled out for privatisation. She is spot on in that we need NHS dentists. What I cannot get past is that hers is a party which facilitated majority Tory government in 2010 and ever since relies on disaffected Tory voters for any hope of electoral revival. For them to achieve any success in this regard, they will have to… Read more »

Silenced!
Silenced!
7 months ago

Dentistry has been neglected UK wide. Ever since the Thatcher era, NHS dentists have been like hens teeth. Most dentists care about money, not patients. During Covid, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals put themselves in danger. Dentists shut up shop and ran for the hills. Even now, they have used it as an opportunity to discourage and dump NHS patients. You want private care? Open that chequebook. They’ll see you within a day. You want NHS care. “Sorry due to Covid we are only seeing emergencies at this time”. But this is not neglect by Y Senedd. This is… Read more »

Richard Owen
Richard Owen
7 months ago

Hardly any surprise, Welsh Labour do not have the will nor the skill to manage NHS dental services, the blame lies in them doing a ‘cut and paste ‘ job in their handling of NHS dentist contracts and pay just as they do with many aspects of Wales NHS , woeful ineptitude and management from Eluned Morgan down including her predecessors Vaughan Geithing & Mark Drakeford. I was once present at a Welsh Labour party constituency meeting with a Sitting MS who was asking for ideas where would cuts to NHS services be tolerated by the public and the view… Read more »

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