The Welsh Government is creating 10,000 new NHS dental places in some of the most deprived areas of Wales.
It is all part of a £1.3 million investment scheme by the Welsh Government, which Health Secretary Vaughan Gething claims will improve dental services across Wales.
As part of the investment, £450,000 will go to Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and £300,000 to Aneurin Bevan University Health Board to help provide access to more NHS dentistry places.
‘Improving NHS dental services and patients’ access to them is a priority for the Welsh Government,’ Health Secretary Vaughen Gething said.
‘I’m really pleased that the investment I’m announcing today will create 10,000 new NHS dental places.
‘This will improve access to NHS dental services for people in some of the most deprived areas of Wales.’
New investment is also being made to improve and strengthen children’s dental services across Wales.
New consultant and specialist appointments will be made increasing access to paediatric dental services and moving them closer to home for children with the highest treatment needs.
It is hoped the new dental teams will be able to see an additional 3,000 patients every year, which in turn will reduce waiting times for hospital-based services.
‘We’re also investing in new specialist paediatric dentistry to ensure the needs of the most vulnerable children are met,’ Vaughen Gething continued.
‘The investment in specialist paediatric dentistry will help improve NHS dental treatment and care for those children who are affected by dental disease.’
The British Dental Association (BDA) has responded to the announcement claiming it doesn’t go far enough.
‘Year in, year out, money allocated to NHS dentistry has been used to balance the Welsh Government’s books,’ Katrina Clarke, chair of the BDA’s Welsh General Dental Practice Committee, said.
‘While we welcome commitments to spend the dental budget on dentistry, this money represents just a quarter of what’s been taken out of the system each year.
‘Creative accounting does not constitute new investment.
‘The best thing the Welsh Government could do is commit to ensure all money set aside for dentistry is actually spent on improving the oral health of children and adults in Wales.’
However, a Welsh Government spokesperson has responded by saying: ‘This is new investment, it’s disappointing BDA Wales do not see it as such and are not accurately reporting the position in Wales.
‘If a dental contract underperforms by over 5% the Health Board is required in legislation to recover the under-delivered amount.
‘In many cases the recovered funding is reinvested straight back into alternative NHS dentistry by the Health Board.
‘Any resource recovered as a result of dental contractual underperformance remains with the Health Board.’