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Shortage of dentists in Wales set to worsen

02 Mar 2023 3 minute read
Photo by Quang Tri NGUYEN on Unsplash

The crisis in NHS dentistry in Wales looks set to get worse following the publication of figures by the Welsh Government that show 14% of dentists are approaching retirement.

In some rural areas such as Powys this figure is as high as 20%.

The British Dental Association (BDA) has also warned dentists will leave the profession if the government does not improve its plans for the future of NHS dentistry.

A recent survey of 250 high street dentists in Wales, conducted by the BDA, revealed that more than a third said they would reduce their NHS contract this year, while 13% said they would hand back their contract entirely by March 2023.

A poll commissioned by the Liberal Democrats had previously shown 1 in 5 people who had been unable to get an NHS dentist appointment had resorted to ‘DIY dentistry’.

In Cardiff and the Vale alone, 15,500 people are waiting to be allocated a dentist.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to raise the spend on NHS dentistry per head to similar levels to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

They also want to see more dental therapists and nurses trained and to widen the type of work they are allowed to do to help ease pressure on dental practices and clear waiting lists.

The party is also calling for the government to engage more constructively with dentists over contract reform.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have described NHS dental services in Wales as “being on life support” and the BDA warned earlier this week that NHS dentistry in Wales could disappear altogether over the space of months.

Life support

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said: “NHS dentistry in Wales is on life support and if we aren’t careful we will see it disappear within our lifetimes.

“Labour have allowed a two-tier system to develop where those with the money to do so can go private and everyone else is left languishing on a waiting list, often in pain and for months on end.

“We must see dentistry spend rise in Wales to similar levels of that in Northern Ireland and Scotland. We also need to see more dental therapists and nurses trained and to widen the type of work they are allowed to do to help ease pressure on dental practices and clear waiting lists.

“We cannot continue in this direction of travel and Welsh Labour cannot continue to be asleep at the wheel. They must engage constructively with the concerns of dentists over contract reform.”

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1 year ago

The shortage is for NHS dentists. There is plenty of private ones. If we pay for dental treatment in our national insurance contributions the government should be obligated to provide NHS dentists. Anyone paying privately is paying twice.

Cathy Jones
Cathy Jones
1 year ago

People in a country willing to be slaves to the Saesneg don’t deserve nice teeth.

NOTHING will change until Cymru is a free and independent nation. NOT ONE SINGLE THING.

Brechdan Wncomunco
1 year ago
Reply to  Cathy Jones

What a horrible thing to say.

1 year ago

National Health Service ? – More like national sickness service or even national death service. The near total absence of preventative services, including dental, has been highlighted for decades yet we see almost no effort made to address at source some of the worst factors that attack health – fags, booze, drugs, fatty foods, fizzy drinks – all should have been banned or taxed/priced out of existence. The general public has to shoulder some responsibility for this but given governments’ tendency to jump at opportunities to promote the nanny state I speculate why some draconian measures haven’t been put into… Read more »

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