PEOPLE in Montgomeryshire are ‘ripping out their own teeth’ due to a lack of NHS dentists in Powys, a local MP has claimed.
Russell George, MS for Montgomeryshire, says Powys has become a ‘dental desert’ and is calling for urgent investment in mid Wales.
A freedom of information request has revealed that there is no immediate access to dental appointments for new patients in the whole of the county
Mr George added: “I am hearing more and more stories about people forced to shell out hundreds or thousands of pounds to go to a private dentists or, even, ripping out their own teeth, all a time when the cost-of-living is on the up.”
The Welsh Conservatives sent a Freedom of Information request to Powys Teaching Health Board asking for the number of dental practices in the area accepting adult and child NHS patients.
In both cases, the health board said: “Practices are currently taking new patients off their own waiting lists, but there is no immediate access to any dental practice for adults.”
There are 26 dental practices in the health board area, 20 of them being contracted GDS (General Dental Services) practices and six are health board-run Community Dental Practices, two of which also offer GDS.
It comes after the Welsh Conservatives called for the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay to drastically increase spending on NHS dentistry or risk “dental deserts” across Wales back in March.
Mr George MS, who is Shadow Health Minister for the Conservatives in Wales, said: “Because of poor management of NHS services by the Labour Government, we are hearing more and more stories about people forced to shell out hundreds or thousands of pounds to go to a private dentists or, even, ripping out their own teeth, all a time when the cost-of-living is on the up.
“All too often, we are given excuses about the appalling lack of access to NHS dentistry in Wales and a lack of transparency is making it harder to tackle the problem – most health boards were incapable of providing this information which is a problem in itself.
“We should not forget that this comes at a time when one in five people in Wales are on an NHS waiting list – which does not include dentistry – which just goes to show the utter shambles the Labour Government is presiding over. The Minister should match devolved spending on dentistry now.”
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