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Wales: Spotlighting woeful lack of investment in NHS dentistry

by SmileRight, on 31st October 2022 | 0 comments

Welsh patients with low risk will need to wait for much longer to see a dentist in future, the BBC reported yesterday.

We’ve already seen six monthly check-ups be buried by the pandemic and by the backlog of patient care that is still being worked through. Your representatives at BDA Wales have been spotlighting these issues this week.

Russell Gidney, Chair of Welsh General Dental Practice Committee (GDPC), spoke on BBC Wales lunchtime news yesterday about the fact the GDS contract reform in Wales is not addressing the core problem. He made clear that that funding for NHS dentistry only caters for 50% of the population and no amount of tweaking can address the growing levels of patient need. Dr Gidney said that it is time for an honest conversation. A lot of extra investment is needed to meet the real patient demand, but the NHS contract means provision is capped.

Lauren Harrhy, member of the BDA Board and member of WGDPC, spoke yesterday evening on BBC Wales Live about the reformed contract. She referred to it as a “bums on seats” approach which is not delivering the goal of prevention. Dr Harrhy explained that more NHS dentists are moving to deliver more private care, so they can better meet the oral health needs of patients. She also spoke of the levels of stress that dentists experienced during the pandemic. She outlined how working in NHS dentistry involves the constant pressure to jump through hoops to chase targets, or lose income. Dr Harrhy made clear that Welsh Government’s idea of fewer check-ups is not serving the population’s oral health needs.

Of course, we’re not just speaking to the media. We have also highlighted in recent meetings with the office of the CDO, that the extra £2m recurring funds pledged by the Welsh Health Minister, Baroness Morgan, MS, falls short of the £6m per annum that has been lost to inflation as the percentage of the total health budget given to dentistry has shrunk year on year.

Russell George, MS and Chair of the Senedd Health and Social Care Committee, acknowledged that dentistry has suffered real term cuts in the last 15 years. He said more investment to adequately fund NHS dentistry is needed.

We will continue to campaign on your behalf and keep you updated.

Article from the BDA

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