Welsh government slammed for ‘woefully inadequate’ support for dentistry

Welsh government slammed for 'woefully inadequate' support for dentistry

The dental profession is backing cross party calls for meaningful reform of NHS dentistry in Wales amidst backlog issues.

In its new report, The Senedd Health Committee has emphasised the need to measure unmet need for NHS dental care.

It is calling for the Welsh Government to review whether the current levels of funding are appropriate to reduce the backlogs.

No magic fix

Last month BDA Wales issued an open letter to the Chief Dental Officer for Wales suggesting a growing number of dentists and practices gearing up to leave the NHS.

The Welsh government has repeatedly claimed a boost of 112,000 new patients. However, the BDA argues that this increase will mean a drop in more regular attenders.

BDA Wales support the principle of government contract reform but warn ‘there is no magic fix to a problem that lies fundamentally in underinvestment’.

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Sustainable investment

Russell Gidney is chair of the British Dental Association’s Welsh General Dental Practice Committee. He said: ‘While there’s uncertainty on the scale of the backlogs, what is clear is the Welsh government’s response has been woefully inadequate.

‘Ministers have dressed up the rationing of care as an access boost. Taking away services from hundreds of thousands of existing patients to provide for new ones is not progress. It’s just stretching an inadequate budget and hoping for the best.

‘What we are yet to see is genuine reform underpinned by sustainable investment. Practices are leaving the NHS simply to remain viable, and without change many patients will be left with no options.’

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