MP Fay Jones has called on the Welsh Health Minister to address the lack of dental provision in Brecon and Radnorshire
Across the border, Dental Surgeries in England have now started to reopen with appropriate levels of social distancing. However, here in Wales under the Welsh Government’s coronavirus guidance, full service will not be available until 2021. Fellow Welsh MPs have raised concerns over the months of unnecessary pain this will cause some constituents. It is well known that without regular dentistry appointments, the risk of oral hygiene and wider health problems greatly increase.
Fay Jones said
"This is something that I have been working on for a number of months; at my very first surgery appointments, constituents raised the lack of dentist services for both adults and children particularly in Builth Wells and Llandrindod Wells. Consequently, I wrote to Vaughan Gething, Minister for Health and Social Service asking for an explanation for the lack of dental provision in Brecon and Radnorshire.
Mr Gething accepts that in Wales it has been difficult to attract and retain NHS dentists and suggests that anyone seeking access to NHS dental Services should contact their Health Board for the latest information and to discuss their particular circumstances. They will be able to provide details of the current level and location of available NHS dental services in our area. They will also be able to provide the availability and details of urgent treatment access for anyone who has not yet been placed with a practice.
Powys Teaching Health Board also acknowledge the current difficulty they have with recruitment and retention of dentists in Brecon and Radnorshire, and the impact this is having on us all in the constituency. Each practice in the Health Board area operates its own waiting list and accepts new patients as and when capacity permits.
But I am deeply worried that the Government accepts this as status quo. This lack of action is forcing patients to travel over the border or pay for private treatment. The affordability of private dental treatment is out of reach for many constituents and therefore by delaying opening of surgeries in Wales, we are only creating greater long term dental health problems.
Anyone having difficulty getting an NHS dental appointment should write to Mr Gething, and ask him what plans are in place for B&R dentist provision. The constituency was already at a disadvantage, long before COVID19. We should not accept a second class service, just because we are in a difficult rural area. Extra effort should be made to solve our problems. It doesn’t appear that Mr Gething shares my view"