Heledd Fychan, Plaid Cymru Member of the Senedd for South Wales Central, has today raised concerns over the state of NHS dental services across the region following the release of the British Dental Association's survey results. The survey showed that over 80% of high street dentists are struggling to meet the Welsh Government's unrealistic targets to see existing patients, and that over 60% are struggling to meet demand to take on new patients. Heledd Fychan MS warns that this situation, combined with the increased demand for services following the pandemic, could lead to the collapse of dental services across the region and deny access to NHS dental care for all that need it.
Heledd Fychan MS further warned that changes to dental contracts will mean that many dentists will choose to hand back their contracts or reduce the services they provide, with 18% of dentists surveyed stating that they are considering handing back their NHS contract and going private, and a further 39% stating that they are likely to reduce the amount of work they undertake for the NHS. This will have a detrimental effect on people, especially those who are most vulnerable, and who are already struggling to access dental care and treatment.
Speaking after raising these concerns directly with the Health Minister, Heledd Fychan MS said:
“The results of the survey conducted by the British Dental Association are deeply concerning. It is clear that many dentists are struggling to cope with the demand for their services and this is only going to get worse as more patients require more extensive treatment following the pandemic. If nothing is done to address this situation, we risk losing access to NHS dental services altogether, which would be disastrous for the most vulnerable members of our communities.
"The Health Minister is in denial about the state of dental services in South Wales Central and beyond. Everyone should be able to access to the dental care they need via the NHS, and it is time for the Minister to take urgent action and work with the British Dental Association to find a solution to this problem.”
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