Wrexham.com > News
Job : Wed 29 Jun 2022
A member of North Wales Senedd has hit out at the lack of NHS dentists in the area, saying some Wrexham residents have to wait two years before they can get one.
Conservative MS Sam Rowlands said he has been contacted by a large number of people struggling to access dental services.
He called on Prime Minister Mark Drakeford to take urgent action to resolve the issue.
Speaking in the Senedd yesterday, Shadow Local Government Minister Mr Rowlands said: ‘I am inundated with constituents contacting me about their difficulties accessing NHS dentists in North Wales.
“A number of constituents have been in contact from Wrexham who have been told they will have to wait up to two years before they can see an NHS dentist.
“I’ve had residents in the Vale of Clwyd say they’ve been told they’ll have to wait three years before they can get into dentistry.
“I think part of the frustration is that these are people paying their taxes and national insurance but not getting the service that those taxes are supposed to fund, basically, so residents have to pay twice because they pay through their taxes. and then access those services through private dental care instead.
“It seems to me at the moment that dentists, although apparently happy to offer the private care, may not seem happy with the NHS contracts you have in place, as they simply do not offer their services through the work of the NHS.”
Mr Rowlands asked Mr Drakeford what steps the Welsh Government was taking to improve access to NHS dentists in North Wales.
The Prime Minister denied there had been any problems with the new contract, with 96 per cent of NHS dentistry now provided by practices that signed it in North Wales.
He said recruitment problems in the region were partly caused by Brexit.
He said: “In North Wales in particular, where big business had taken over the practices, what they found was that the people they were able to recruit from other parts of the European Union have returned to other parts of the European Union.
“When looking to recruit dentists who previously could come without any barriers, they have to go through the sponsorship route, with all of its complexities and uncertainties.
“Some of the difficulties faced by people in North Wales are directly attributable to the way Brexit has made it more difficult to recruit and retain people.
“The body that funds people for training here in Wales is developing the approach to the workforce, which I myself have always considered best for this profession, and that is diversification .
“It’s not just about recruiting and training the dentists themselves; you need a cadre of dental nurses, therapists and the new cadre of dental assistants who can do these parts of dental work.
“(It leaves) the best and most skilled members of the workforce to do the things that only a dentist can do.”