Home » Sam Rowlands MS calls on Health Minister to ‘get a grip’ on dentistry services in North Wales
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Sam Rowlands MS calls on Health Minister to ‘get a grip’ on dentistry services in North Wales

SAM ROWLANDS, Member of the Welsh Parliament for North Wales, has called for a long term plan to increase the number of dentists.

Mr Rowlands, Shadow Health Minister, and a harsh critic of the Welsh Government’s failure to deal with the lack of NHS dentists in North Wales, was speaking in the Senedd in a debate on dentistry training.

He said: “We know that dentist provision is such an important part of the healthcare system and is a major part of the preventative agenda. Dentistry is such an important part of that in reducing much bigger, more expensive issues further down the line.

“We know this is especially important for children, who can and should then be building healthy teeth-cleaning habits into adulthood and I’m particularly concerned about the issues that we’re building up here in Wales for young people and adults down the line.

“Sadly, for the people I represent here in North Wales the provision simply isn’t good enough, and we are left with what some describe as ‘dental deserts’ across the region. This lack of consistency certainly exacerbates those problems down the line, increasing major issues in the future, and, ultimately, costing taxpayers more as well. 

“I think it’s perfectly reasonable for people paying their taxes to expect to have access to an NHS dentist. I don’t think that’s beyond what people should be expecting to receive as a basic part of their health needs. But, sadly, too many people are being let down with this most basic of expectations.

“The health committee report on dentistry last year contained a number of useful recommendations, one of which was to look at a dental school in North Wales, in partnership with the university. A fully funded and fully functioning dental school in our area in North Wales would certainly go a long way to giving Wales and North Wales the dental workforce that it needs, for those patients that need that service.

“It is necessary and fair to recognise that an expansion of training places isn’t without cost, and we have to consider the cost of training, university clinical placement capacity, in addition to having quality academic staff who can design and deliver those courses. But, Cabinet Secretary, I would argue that there must be a strong spend-to-save business case to be made here, and I would urge you to pursue this in the strongest terms possible.”

He called for the Cabinet Secretary, Eluned Morgan to increase the number of dentists and support staff alongside traditional dentists.

He added: “I would make increasing those numbers a central plank of this Government’s work, and getting a grip on a broad-ranging long-term plan would certainly go a long way to making this happen, so that our constituents can have access to the NHS dentists that they need.”

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