Over 90% of NHS dental practices in Wales unable to offer appointments to new patients
5 months ago
Over 90% of NHS Dental practices in Wales are unable to offer appointments to new adult patients, according to a survey.
The UK-wide study revealed that 93% of NHS practises in Wales were not taking on new patients – the highest level in the UK.
The British Dental Association (BDA) and BBC identified 8,533 dental practices across the UK that were believed to hold NHS contracts, and attempts were made to call them all.
Shawn Charlwood, chairman of the British Dental Association’s general dental practice committee, said:
“NHS dentistry is at a tipping point, with millions unable to get the care they need and more dentists leaving with every day that passes.
“We’re seeing the results of years of chronic neglect, set into overdrive by the pressures of the pandemic.”
“Without real reform and fair funding NHS dentistry will die, and our patients will pay the price.”
Last month, Wales’ new chief dental officer, Andrew Dickenson, announced plans to scrap the “outdated” practice of recalling people for check-ups every six months, and said this would allow practices across Wales to see up to 112,000 new patients a year.
The British Dental Association (BDA) called these claims “misleading” and they are being used to mask a “failure to invest in NHS dentistry”.
In March, BDA Wales called for an increase in funding from the Welsh Government amid accusations of “historic underfunding” compared to the rest of the UK.
Figures released by the Welsh Conservatives earlier in the year revealed government spending on NHS dentistry in Wales was £47 per head prior to the pandemic, compared to £55 in Scotland and £56 in Northern Ireland.
England has the lowest spend in the UK, with the amount of dentistry commissioned by NHS England reduced by more than 2 million units between 2010 and 2020 as UK Government contributions per head fell from £41.79 to £34.53.
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