Mid Wales ‘ a barren wasteland for dental services’ says MS
No dental surgeries in Powys are currently are taking new NHS patients
The scale of the dentist crisis hitting Wales has been exposed after it was revealed there are no dental surgeries taking new NHS patients in its largest county.
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.
It comes after the Welsh Conservatives called for the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay to drastically increase spending on NHS dentistry or risk “dental deserts” across Wales back in March when the Leader of the Opposition also quizzed the First Minister on the subject.
James Evans, MS for Brecon & Radnorshire and Shadow Minister for Mid Wales added:“It is sad to read that Mid Wales is a barren wasteland for dental services. Our region is often neglected by the Labour Government and this is having devastating consequences.
“Due to Powys’ geography and populations patterns, people often have to travel other counties or into England to access many services. While this works for many, it is really disappointing that none of the 26 dental surgeries in the country are taking on new, local patients.”
MS for Montgomeryshire and Shadow Health Minister Russell George said:
“Because of poor management of NHS services by the Labour Government, we are 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 appalling lack of access to NHS dentistry in Wales and a lack of transparency is making it harder to tackle the problem – most health boards were incapable of providing this information which is a problem in itself.
“We should not forget that this comes at a time when 1-in-5 people in Wales are on an NHS waiting list – which does not include dentistry – which just goes to show the utter shambles the Labour Government is presiding over. The Minister should match devolved spending on dentistry now.”
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