Wales’ Health Minister this week faced questions from Montgomeryshire’s Senedd Member on the accessibility of dentists in north Powys and the throughout Wales.
According to the British Dentistry Association “access to services for new patients in Wales has more than halved since 2012, dropping to just 15% of practices accepting new adult patients.”
Montgomeryshire MS, Russell George, said he has received rising numbers of concerns from constituents who cannot access dental services.
The Welsh Government has recently announced plans to improve dentistry, but dentists have expressed their concerns within the new contract. The new contracts are said to consider a risk assessment and have removed the need for six-month check-ups, which is said by some to be forcing dentists to choose between their old and new patients.
Mr George raised these concerns with Health Minister Eluned Morgan,in the Senedd this week, telling the minister that his local constituents cannot access a local NHS dentist. He also told the Minister that the new contract means that dentists are being paid based on out of date performance data.
Commenting, Mr George said: ''I have been raising this issue for some time, and pre-pandemic the issues within dentistry were not good enough.
''When people contact an NHS dentist, they can be told they will be put onto a waiting list and could be waiting up to three years to be seen or they are offered a dentist away from the local area. For many, this could be up to a two hour round trip. This is simply not acceptable.''
Mr George added: ''I am glad that the Minister agreed with me that there is a major capacity issues in people being able to access or register with an NHS dentist but what are the Welsh Government going to do about it?
“It's vital that the Government get to grips with this crisis, listen to dentists concerns with the new contract so services that local people need can be provided. I hope that in two years time I don't have to be asking why can't my constituents can't get a NHS local dental appointment.''