Six-figure funding package will help improve dental surgery ventilation in Wales

A £450,000 package has been secured to help dental practices improve their ventilation systems in WalesA £450,000 package has been secured to help dental practices improve their ventilation systems in Wales. 

The move has been welcomed by the British Dental Association, which appealed to all four UK governments for support.

Nearly 80% of practices in Wales are running at less than half their pre-pandemic capacity.

The package – which was secured by health minister Vaughan Gething – will allow practices to invest in new systems, which many said they could not fund independently.

Real leadership

As a result, it is hoped ventilation systems can help practices cut their fallow time dramatically in a bid to improve patient access.

‘The health minister has shown real leadership in getting dentistry back up and running,’ said Dr Katrina Clarke, chair of the BDA’s Welsh Council.

‘The rules dentists are obliged to work under have left millions across the UK unable to secure an appointment. This pledge of capital funding will therefore translate into better access for families across Wales.

‘From decay to oral cancer every lost appointment represents a missed opportunity to nip problems in the bud. The Welsh government has put patients first. We look to the authorities in Westminster, Belfast and Edinburgh to do the same.’

Financial sustainability

The BDA conducted a survey of dental practices in the UK in October, receiving responses from 98 Welsh practices.

78% of practices reported operating at less than half of their pre-pandemic capacity. Additionally, two thirds (74%) said they were not focusing on routine dentistry and were instead prioritising urgent and emergency cases.

Currently, 46% of practices also estimate they can only maintain their financial sustainability for 12 months or less.

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