Welsh NHS patients queuing around the corner to register at new dental practice

Patients in Wales are queueing around the corner after a new NHS dentist opened in Llangollen.

Some residents queued for up to five hours after another local practice closed in January.

The BDA has called on the Government and local health boards to ensure the situation doesn’t become the ‘new normal’.

‘It’s the 21st century,’ Tom Bysouth, chair of the BDA’s Welsh General Dental Practice Committee, said.

‘A developed nation with universal healthcare shouldn’t see residents queuing round the block to access basic services.

‘The Welsh Government and local health boards have to ensure the scenes in Llangollen do not become the new normal.

‘Dentistry in Wales has been shackled by a system that puts tick boxes and targets ahead of patient care.

‘The result is patients are now travelling further or waiting longer for appointments, while practices are unable to attract staff.

‘This postcode lottery must end to ensure that all those who want NHS care can access it.’

‘Postcode lottery’

BDA Wales has highlighted how patients in Wales are facing a postcode lottery of care.

Some patients in Aberystwyth are facing a 90-mile round trip to visit an NHS dentist.

The BDA’s analysis shows 15% of NHS practices are taking new adult patients, and 28% are accepting new child patients.

‘It seems that it’s only when difficulties like these make the front pages that NHS dentistry is forced up the priority list,’ Nigel Jones, sales director at Practice Plan, said.

‘Even then, it’s hard to escape the feeling that the response will be of the sticking plaster variety rather than the fundamental change of approach that’s required.

‘Sadly, I believe it will take many more stories along these lines before the challenges facing NHS dentistry across the UK are truly tackled in any meaningful way.’

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