Rhun ap Iorwerth calls for debate on future of NHS dentistry in Wales.

Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for Ynys Môn Rhun ap Iorwerth has urged Welsh Government to hold a debate on the future of dentistry in Wales following a number of concerns raised with the availability of treatment on the NHS for patients on the island.

The recent announcement of the impending closure of an NHS dental practice in Menai Bridge, followed by the closure of a branch in Bangor which had a number of patients from Ynys Môn, has again highlighted the lack of dentistry provision in the area.

In a question to Welsh Government yesterday, Mr ap Iorwerth said:

“There are a number of levels of our dental service that needs discussion and I think a debate would be a means of airing concerns. First of all, there are serious concerns about the UDA agreement—the units of dental activity—where I’m convinced there is a disincentive for dentists to deal with multiple problems, including problems suffered by children who can’t access treatment.

“Secondly, we need to have a debate on the availability of NHS dental care. A surgery in my constituency, Bridge Street Dental Practice in Menai Bridge, announced recently the intention to close—it was a problem in getting hold of staff that was the cause of that. I wrote to Betsi Cadwaladr to ask what the patients are now supposed to do.

“The response I received was, ‘Tell them to phone around looking for a dental surgery that provides NHS services.’ I know that the opportunities for people to access NHS services are few and far between, and, on a recent list, Holyhead in my constituency was the place where people had to travel furthest to access dental services—59 miles there and back to the nearest surgery.

“And thirdly, a failure to recruit new dentists was the problem in terms of Bridge Street Dental in Menai Bridge. Just as we succeeded with our campaign to provide medical training in Bangor, I think that this debate would also be a means of discussing the need for dental training too, to be developed on the back of the medical training that is due to commence there soon.”