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Concern over access to NHS dentists

28th March 2012

Welsh politicians have suggested that only 37% of dentists in Wales are accepting new NHS patients.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats also say that waiting lists for new patients wanting a dentist are lengthy and found it to be six years at one practice.

Research by the Welsh Lib Dems showed 63% of dentists which accept NHS patients have a waiting list and at 65% of these it was longer than two months. Some 55% of dental practices reported an increase in missed appointments in the last year and 53% reported problems with the way the current dental contract operates, with 31% believing the contract needed to change.

Welsh Lib Dems leader Kirsty Williams said: “Although the new dental contract was supposed to improve access to NHS dentists for all, the worrying truth is that NHS dentistry in Wales is still far from a universal public service.”

British Dental Association director in Wales, Stuart Geddes, said the reason why dentists were not able to have more NHS patients was because the local health boards were not commissioning the services.

He added: “They have funding available but tend to hold it back to the end of the year before they spend it. It ends up either going to offset another deficit or back to the Welsh government.”

The Welsh government said access to an NHS dentist had improved in recent years and the Adult Dental Health Survey published in 2011 revealed that in 2009, 69% of adults in Wales regularly attended the dentists, compared to 59% in 1998.

 

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