As the Senedd prepares to debate the Health and Social Care Committee’s report into NHS dentistry later today. Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Jane Dodds MS has made dentistry a priority since her election as a Member of the Senedd in 2021.
In March this year, the party launched a Plan to Save NHS Dentistry, setting out the scale of the crisis and proposals to make sure that everyone, wherever they live, has access to NHS dentistry when they need it.
The party committed to action to:
1. Reduce waiting times for treatment by allowing a wider range of professionals to treat patients.
2. Invest in NHS dentistry, so nobody is forced to travel for miles or pay for private care.
3. Ensure that every child can get treatment where and when they need it.
Commenting ahead of the debate Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:“The NHS dental service has all but collapsed for many people in Wales.
“Thousands of people don’t get to see an NHS dentist for check-ups; they can’t get treatment on the NHS where they live; and there are endless stories of people with dental emergencies either paying thousands of pounds, travelling long distances, or worse still do DIY dental work.
“People who need NHS dental care find it almost impossible to get an appointment – and in many cases can only get one if they go private. Children in particular are missing out on the dental care and support they need.
“The Welsh Government clearly doesn’t see dentistry as a priority. Week after week, Labour Ministers bury their head and rebut very valid concerns from the profession and from the public about the dire state of dentistry.”
Ms Dodds has requested a meeting with the Health Minister to discuss matters relating to:
- Take immediate action to prevent practices handing back or reducing their NHS contracts, which would make access to dentistry even harder for many people across the country.
- Establish local waiting lists to ensure that people know how long they can expect to wait for treatment, alongside national government monitoring of waiting times.
- Work with the profession to simplify and improve process for agreeing the dental contract, so practices have greater time to plan, safeguarding services.