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Is NHS dentistry becoming a 'thing of the past' for many Welsh communities?

Blog Author Caroline Seddon

Blog Date 04/12/2019

 


It was great to see Welsh Assembly Members voicing the concerns we have been highlighting over the need for support for dentists in Wales who are suffering from stress and burnout due to the increasing demands being put on dentists in their working lives.

In a recent Plenary Session in the Welsh Assembly, Angela Burns AM, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, raised the lack of support for dentists in Wales and highlighted that this is a real challenge to the retention of dentists in the country.

Citing the success of the BDA’s campaigning to get the NHS Practitioner Health Support programme made available to dentists in England, Angela Burns AM, noted that there is no comparable scheme for dentists in Wales to access and called on the First Minister to do take action.

Access for dental patients in Wales continues to be a key concern for us and we’ve also been working to get this on Assembly Members' agendas.

 


At the session, Health, Social Care and Sport Committee Chair, Dai Lloyd AM also raised the issue of members of the public complaining to AMs that they can’t get a local NHS dentist. 

He said that in the old Abertawe Bro Morgannwg area that he represents, only nine out of 65 dental practices are taking on new adult NHS patients. 

As he points out, local NHS dentistry seems to be a ‘thing of the past’ for many communities - which is a shocking prospect, if we really are going to get serious about prevention and ensuring good oral health for all. 

We’ve been working with Welsh Government about the crisis in the morale of dentists in the NHS in Wales, and asking them to implement a reformed dental contract, that works for both patients and our profession. 

We’ve voiced concerns that the target-driven system in NHS dentistry is bad for morale and is a system which many dentists are turning away from, because it puts huge pressure on both practice owners and associates in the GDS to chase UDAs, rather than focusing on providing the best patient care. 

The BDA contributes to the contract reform project and supports all moves away from UDAs and towards the promotion of good oral health and prevention. Dental statistics show the good news that more children are now being seen, but it is now time for contract reform to benefit more of our adult patients too. 

We are pleased that AMs are taking up the baton and helping to keep these issues on the agenda. 

We will continue to put these arguments forward and to work towards ensuring that Wales is seen as a viable and attractive place for dentists to work, and to ensure all Welsh communities can access NHS dental care. 

Caroline Seddon, BDA Wales National Director


BDA Wales

BDA Wales campaigns for the interests of all dentists working in Wales. With our elected committee members, we negotiate on behalf of the profession on terms and conditions, pay and contracts: join us.