Freedom of Information request reveals there is no immediate access to dental appointments for new patients.
The Welsh Conservatives sent a Freedom of Information request to Powys Teaching Health Board asking for the number of dental practices in the area accepting adult and child NHS patients.
In both cases, the health board said: “Practices are currently taking new patients off their own waiting lists, [but] there is no immediate access to any dental practice for adults”.
There are 26 dental practices in the health board area, 20 of them being contracted GDS (General Dental Services) practices and six are health board-run Community Dental Practices, two of which also offer GDS.
Welsh Government were asked to drastically increase spending on NHS dentistry or risk “dental deserts” across Wales back in March and there have been further calls to the government from Shadow Health Spokesperson and Montgomershire Senedd Member Russell George MS recently to reconsider the new dental contract and invest in mid Wales dentistry.
Commenting, Mr George said:
''Sadly, I have had to raise this issue several times over the last few months, and nothing has changed. I am hearing more and more stories about people forced to shell out hundreds or thousands of pounds to go to a private dentists or, even, ripping out their own teeth, all a time when the cost-of-living is on the up.
“All too often, we are given excuses about the lack of access to NHS dentistry in Wales and a lack of transparency is making it harder to tackle the problem – we really need to address this urgent problem.
“The new dental contract means that dentists are having to choose between old clients and new clients, with many dentists turning to private work. This is only making access to dental appointments worse.”
“It is really disappointing that none of the 26 dental surgeries in the county are taking on new, local patients. The Welsh Government should match devolved spending on dentistry now.”