The Leader of the Opposition today slammed Labour’s record on dentistry as funding levels remain below other parts of the UK.
Questioning the First Minister today, Andrew RT Davies MS highlighted concerns that many in the dentistry sector have regarding the canyon between per head spend between Wales and other devolved nations.
Mr Davies also brought the case of Adam to the First Minister’s attention.
A teacher from Bangor, Adam found it impossible to find a new NHS dentist when his current dentist stopped carrying out NHS treatments. When he called other surgeries in Bangor, Menai Bridge, Llandudno, Penmaenmawr, Colwyn Bay, Caernarfon and several other towns in North West Wales, he was told that there was a minimum of a two-year NHS waiting list at all of them.
As a result, he had no choice but to go private, spending over £1,164.40 over the course of three treatments.
Sadly, cases like Adam’s are not few and far between.
It is shocking that Wales’ dental capacity has fallen below pracademic levels with 83 fewer dentists were working across health boards than in 2020.
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 practises accepting new adult patients.”
Speaking after the exchange, Andrew RT Davies MS, who is also the MS for South Wales Central said:
“I’m afraid to say that Labour’s appalling failures in their handling of the NHS extends to dentistry in Wales.
“It is horrifying that the waits have become so chronic that we see people in Wales having to fork out hundreds, if not thousands of pounds, to go private or rip out parts of their own teeth with pliers. Surely Wales deserves better than this.
“The Labour Government’s response is to make the situation worse through a dentistry contract that reduces focus on regular check-ups, forces dentists to choose between old and new patients, and funds dentists by 15% less than six years ago.
“Labour ministers need to urgently address the fast approaching ‘dentistry desert’ across Wales and ensure that funding is provided to ensure top quality care is provided.”