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MS warns Dental services in Wales “on their knees”

23 Nov 2023 3 minute read
Photo: Welsh Government

Dental services across Wales are “on their knees” with NHS provision being put at risk by new contracts according to a Conservative MS.

Peter Fox, Conservative MS for Monmouth, said a practice in his constituency has highlighted that thousands of patients are unable to even be considered for recall appointments.

Mr Fox told the Senedd: “Because of this, the practice is now faced with a clawback of £155,000. This is not an exception to the rule – this is the rule, due to the lack of long-term thinking.”

He said: “Further, dentists now pay for their lab fees personally but for complex lab work, like dentures, the NHS remuneration does not cover this cost, leaving the dentist out of pocket. It is no wonder, then, that practices are having to increase private work to carry on providing what NHS work they can.”

 

Urgent cases prioritised

Eluned Morgan admitted that access to dentistry is not where ministers would like it to be. She said NHS contracts have been developed to focus attention on the most urgent cases, preventative aspects and people who have had difficulty accessing services.

The health minister told the Senedd that NICE guidance suggests that if you have healthy teeth, you don’t need a recall appointment every six months.

Baranoness Morgan said: “In fact, you can go up to two years without having a recall. That is what NICE is saying … I think it’s really important that we are led by clinicians.”

John Griffiths, the Labour MS for Newport East, raised similar concerns about Bridges dental practice in Caldicot.

He told the Senedd: “I met with the partners there this week and they do feel very strongly that their long-standing commitment as a practice to NHS provision is being put at risk by the new NHS dental services contract. They do not feel that they’re able to provide what they consider to be a proper standard of care for existing NHS patients while meeting the requirements for new patients.”

He added: “They believe that this view is very widespread among NHS dentists, not just in their area, but across Wales, and they believe that the new NHS dental services contract isn’t working as it was expected to and we will see a reducing level of NHS provision as a result.”

 

Crisis

Adam Price, Plaid MS for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, also warned that there is a crisis in dental services during health questions on Wednesday 22 November.

He told MSs that Hayden Dental in Carmarthen has said it will stop its NHS service by the end of the year.

He said: “That follows similar developments to the west in Whitland, to the east in Llandeilo and to the south in Cross Hands and so on and so forth.”


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KC Gordon
KC Gordon
7 months ago

…and is the Health Minister a private or NHS member of a dental practice?

A.Redman
A.Redman
7 months ago
Reply to  KC Gordon

Or any politician and their families in the Senedd? Yet another health problem for The Welsh public!!

Sarah Good
Sarah Good
7 months ago

Dental Services have spent years dumping NHS patients in favour of private. I needed an appointment with my own dentists last year. I was told “Due to Covid precautions we are only doing emergency treatment at the moment”. I was then offered a private appointment. Apparently Covid does not pose the same risks to private patients. If PRIVATE dental practises are “on their knees” I say good! When Covid occurred they ran FROM danger when the rest of the medical profession ran towards it. When patients needed NHS treatment at any time in the last 20 years, they claimed they… Read more »

Frank
Frank
7 months ago

Dentists are too busy filling their bank balances treating private patients. Ask a dentist for a NHS appointment and it’s practically impossible but ask for a private appointment, flashing cash in front of his/her nose, and he/she can fit you in tomorrow. Same with consultants in hospitals. Cash is king. Urgent NHS health poblems are not important but private ones are!!!!

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago
Reply to  Frank

Too many NHS doctors are also in on the privatisation “plot”. During the ongoing disputes they have all banged on about “service” but it seems that the senior professionals have a vested interest in killing off the “free at point of need” concept and turning it all into a service funded by insurance or self funded by patients.

hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago

How’s that for mastery of understatement – “Eluned Morgan admitted that access to dentistry is not where ministers would like it to be. ” Probably insincere too.

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