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Dentistry in Wales at crisis point?

Blog Author Katrina Clarke

Blog Date 20/09/2017

​​​By their own admission, new stats from NHS Wales shows the crisis about to hit dentistry, as morale for our dentists plummets and many are now say they are thinking of leaving the profession.

One might ask, how has this awful situation come about? 

We’ve been highlighting for years the impact declining pay cuts are having on morale and our ability to recruit dentists in the country and sometimes, it really feels like our words are falling on deaf ears.

In response to the latest pay data, Chair of the GDPC Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen has said, continuing pay cuts are pushing dentists to the brink and impacting on our ability to run our businesses.

We know that a lot of our dentists in Wales are nearing retirement age and this poses another specific problem to commissioners. 

With many younger dentists unable to get finance to buy practices, and some of the corporates who are dipping their toe in, are reporting they are finding it difficult to recruit. Some practices have closed down and can’t find anyone to take them on

This is only making it harder for patients to find an NHS dentist they can access.  It doesn’t sound like the path to prevention to me. 

Funding for dentistry in Wales is going unspent, health boards are saying the reason is that cannot attract dentists to the area, and current dentists are ‘ditching their contracts’.

Well, I hate to the be the one who said I told you so, but we have told Government so, every year in our submission to the pay review body, but we’ve been left out in the cold: with minimal uplifts that in real terms, mean a decline in pay. 

The Government has said it wants to work with us. But we need more than words, we need some solutions to tackle these problems now. 

Katrina ClarkeKatrina Clarke

Chair, Welsh General Dental Practice Committee