New research reveals that are being accepted at dental
JUST one out of 45 dental practices in West Wales is accepting new patients on the NHS, it has been revealed – and those places are for children only.
New research from the British Dental Association (BDA) found that 55 out of 355 (15%) practices nationally were able to offer appointments to new adult NHS patients.
And only 96 (27%) of them were taking on new child NHS patients – defined as those up to 16 years old, or 18 if they are in full-time education.
In Hywel Dda University Health Board, which covers Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, no practices were taking on new adults on the NHS and one out of 45 was taking on new children.
In the Swansea Bay area, the former Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board had nine out of 65 practices accepting new adult patients, with 28 accepting children.
Figures have deteriorated markedly since a 2012 analysis undertaken by the Liberal Democrats found that 37% of new adult patients were able to find an NHS appointment.
Chairman of the BDA’s Welsh General Dental Practice Committee Tom Bysouth said: “For too many families in Wales NHS dentistry is now just a nice idea rather than a reality.
“We’ve found practices giving up on even going through the motions with waiting lists. NHS patients are left with few options but to travel or miss out on the care they need.
“Across Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire, NHS dentistry amounts to a single practice that can only take on new child patients. It’s hardly comprehensive care.”
Across Wales, the BDA said 41% of practices reported taking daily inquiries from new patients asking for appointments. One practice in Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said they received more than 60 calls a day from would-be patients.
Previous BDA analysis had shown patients across Wales were facing up to 90-mile journeys for treatment.
Mr Bysouth said at the heart of the problem was a “broken” NHS contract that is fuelling a “recruitment and retention crisis”.
The current NHS dental services contract came into force in 2006 in Wales which pays a fixed amount each year for dental work which is split into units of dental activity (UDA).
No dental practices in West Wales are accepting new