Clwyd West MS Darren Millar has challenged the First Minister over the action his government is taking to improve access to NHS dentistry in Conwy and Denbighshire.
Speaking in yesterday’s meeting of the Welsh Parliament, Darren highlighted the problems his constituents are experiencing in accessing dental services and told the First Minister that some are even travelling to Scotland to receive the dental treatment they need.
Calling for more to be done, he said:
“Sixteen years ago when I first became a Member of the Senedd, people were able to access two NHS check-ups a year, and most people in my constituency were able to register with a local NHS dentist without any issues.
“Now NHS dentistry, particularly in North Wales, appears to be falling off a cliff.
“We've now gone down to a system whereby most people can only access a check-up every 12 months, if that, and, in when people move home, they're not able to register with a local NHS dentist. I have constituents having to go to Scotland in order to receive their NHS dental treatment because they cannot register in my constituency.
"At present, there's one single practice in my constituency that allows people to add their names to a list to register for NHS dentistry, and you will be waiting for two years in order to get off that list and into that dental practice.
“So, can I ask you, on behalf of my constituents in Conwy and Denbighshire, when will they be able to get the sort of NHS care from a dentist that they need?”
In his response, the First Minister said:
“One of the ways in which constituents in the Member's constituency will get that service is when dentists in a thoroughgoing way deliver NICE guidance. The NICE requirement since 2004 is that people should never be called back twice a year for a check-up when there's no clinical reason for doing so. NICE guidelines said all the way back then that a two-year call-back was sufficient for very many patients.”