The decline of the Welsh NHS continues, Wales had the least availability of NHS dentists of UK nations

Welsh Conservative comment on lack of dentist availability

Wales had the least availability of NHS dentists of UK nations, with 93% of practices not accepting new adult patients, according to a new BBC-BDA (British Dental Association) survey.

Scotland had significantly better access to NHS dentistry for adults than the other UK nations, with 18% of practices taking on new health-service patients. Wales, England, and Northern Ireland had broadly similar rates of access, at 7%, 9% and 10% respectively.

The news comes weeks after the Welsh Conservatives warned of “dental deserts” in Wales and called for NHS dentistry spending in Wales to match that of other devolved nations.

Spend on NHS dentistry in Wales was £47 per head prior to pandemic. The Welsh Conservatives, like the BDA, believe “it is time at the very least to bring it in line with investment in Scotland and Northern Ireland” where it is £55 and £56 per head, respectively.

Commenting, Welsh Conservative and Shadow Health Minister Russell George MS said:

“These numbers should be a shock to us all – but it matches up with the experiences I have heard from people over the last few months.

“Sadly, the warnings of dental deserts have been ignored by the Labour Government, as has dentistry as a whole, evident in its lack of funding.

“I have spoken with dentists who feel that they subsidise dental care out of their own pocket because the funding is so poor.

“That’s why we’re calling on the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay to match devolved levels of spending on NHS dentistry before more people are forced to go private or rip out their own teeth in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis.”


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