Swansea Bay is facing a “dentist shortage crisis” as 13.6% of dentists in the Swansea Bay Health Board approach retirement, the Welsh Liberal Democrats have warned.
Welsh Party Leader Jane Dodds MS accused Labour of being “asleep at the wheel” and said it was “no wonder” people were turning to “DIY dentistry”.
Last year a poll by the Faculty of Dental Surgeons found 19% of dentists believed it will take more than two years to get through the volume of dental patients waiting for treatment.
A report compiled by Jane Dodds on access to dentistry also found that people were living in pain or unable to eat properly, because they could not find treatment – and that the poorest were suffering most as they were least able to afford to pay for private dentistry. There were also examples of people resorting to pulling out their own teeth at home because they can’t get a dentist’s appointment.
According to figures from Stats Wales, 13.6% of dentists in the Swansea Bay Health Board in 2020-2021 were over the age of 55.
Between 2019-20 and 2020-21, the number NHS dentists in Wales fell by over 5% with 83 fewer NHS dentists on the books. The Welsh Liberal Democrats have said these numbers could fall further as dentists looked to retirement and warned of a “dentist shortage time bomb”.
Jane Dodds described the shortages as a “scandal”, adding: “These statistics show why it is sadly no wonder people are desperately turning to DIY dentistry across Wales. Our NHS dental system is at a breaking point, it really is a scandal. Access to NHS dentists is already a postcode lottery and with 13.6% of dentists facing retirement soon the problem only looks set to get worse.
“The Welsh Government is asleep at the wheel when it comes to the crisis in NHS dentistry. To be clear, this crisis is not the fault of dentists. They work extremely hard and have to operate within the system that exists. But that system is broken and only the Welsh Government can fix it.
“Clearly, the Welsh Government needs to step up and review the system which drives dentists away from performing NHS activity. The lack of NHS dentists across the country is a real crisis for people. As well as being unable to sort out dental pain in the short term, people are storing up problems for the future without regular check-ups.
“To help reduce current pressures while more dentists are trained, I would urge the Welsh Government to consider increasing the availability of dental therapists and nurses, as well as considering introducing travelling NHS dentists who can rotate through areas of concern to help clear backlogs.
“People across the Swansea Bay region are being let down by Labour taking them for granted.”
Court grants Police 36 hour extension to detention of three held for Bridgend baby death investigation
Ryanair to offer more flights through Cardiff next year
Working on Christmas Day is like being with a ‘second family,’ say Wales Air Ambulance frontline staff
‘That colliery holds our history’: Council aims to change the fortunes of the Cefn Coed Colliery Museum
Briton Ferry primary school welcomes donation from Amazon
Joe’s Ice Cream plants 100 trees to rejuvenate local green areas
Celebrity chef James Martin turns up the heat with a brand new 2023 tour visit to Swansea Arena
Castell Howell serves up sustainable menu at Nuffield dinner
Three arrested after bodies of two babies found in Bridgend
Rob Page: ‘We can’t sit and cry over Iran loss’
Free bus travel returns to Swansea for Christmas
Date set for Llanelli Christmas Carnival and lights switch-on
Street pianos to bring music and colour to Swansea’s streets
Four Pembrokeshire women to take on ‘world’s toughest row’
Brynhyfryd pub gets brand new look in time to celebrate World Cup
UWTSD to host Cerebra families during Swansea Christmas Parade
Gavin & Stacey star Ruth Jones says getting honorary doctorate from Open University was ‘tidy, lush and crackin’
Swansea Christmas Parade: What you need to know for this Sunday’s event
Swansea set to host football World Cup Fan Park
Christmas multipack Coke recalled as packing error means some zero sugar packs have regular cans included
Christmas6 days ago
Morriston community groups supply festive fun for heritage event
Gorseinon6 days ago
Gorseinon GP warns antibiotics may do more harm than good against seasonal viruses
Swansea6 days ago
Martin Nicholls named as Swansea Council’s new Chief Executive
Business3 days ago
Carmarthenshire logistics company celebrates 50th anniversary by holding a family fun day in aid of Wales Air Ambulance
UK Government6 days ago
Liberal Democrats table bill to give Wales the power to create Bank Holidays
Fostering & Adoption6 days ago
Swansea 10 year-old wins national fostering award
Photography4 days ago
Swansea man wins Historic Photographer of the Year competition
Swansea4 days ago
Swansea now third busiest train station in Wales – but overall ridership down on pre-pandemic levels