Labour Government in Wales asks Sarwar for help…..pulling teeth

NHS Wales is in the middle of a dentistry crisis.

From the Rhyl, Prestatyn and Abergele Journal, on 15 March 2023

THE MS for Clwyd West, Darren Millar has challenged the First Minister, Mark Drakeford, on the action Welsh Government is taking to improve access to NHS dentistry in Conwy and Denbighshire.

In yesterday (March 14)’s Senedd meeting, Mr Millar highlighted the problems his constituents are experiencing in accessing dental services.

He told the First Minister that some are even travelling to Scotland to receive the dental treatment they need.

Mr Millar said: “16 years ago, when I first became a MS, 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 issue.

“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.

It’s not clear whether trained dentist, Anas Sarwar, will agree to help his Welsh Labour colleagues to work toward the situation in Scotland:

From Public Health Scotland in January 2023:

95.4% of the Scottish population were registered with an NHS dentist as at 30 September 2022.

As at 30 September 2022, 87.2% of children were registered, compared to 87.4% on 30 September 2021.

As at 30 September 2022, 2.6 million registered patients had seen an NHS dentist within the last two years (50.4% compared to 43.1% in March 2022). Registered children were more likely than adults to have seen an NHS dentist within the last two years (65.7% compared to 47.2%).

Comparative data for England are not available, but according to the Guardian in August 2022:

Just over a third of adults (34%) accessed NHS dental care in the two years to 31 March across England. It has since climbed to 36% in the two years to June but remains well below the pre-pandemic level of 50%. Just 44.8% of children were seen in the year to the end of March, rising to 46.2% in the year to June, despite there being no restrictions on dental surgeries treating patients. That is far below the 58.7% of children seen in the last full year before the pandemic.,to%2031%20March%20across%20England.


12 thoughts on “Labour Government in Wales asks Sarwar for help…..pulling teeth

  1. I have a lot of time for Mark Drakeford’s Labour government in Wales. The needs and wants of Wales, its government and people are severely constrained by the devolved settlement they suffer – like Scotland – within this Union: they suffer from the power exercised by Westminster – like Scotland.

    Highlighting the relative status of the economy and of public services in Wales- so often and for so long (albeit sometimes marginally) less good than Scotland’s – is legitimate for one over-riding reason: it is to point up the hypocrisy and the intellectual, the critical thinking, void that characterises the arch- Unionist ‘LEADERSHIP’ of the Labour Party in Scotland and its Union flag displaying ‘patriots’ at the top of the party in Westminster.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Right at the beginning of the pandemic many changes were made as to how dental practices operated resulting in fewer consultations per day. In Scotland the treatment room had to be sanitised between each appointment, a 20 minute process. That they managed such a high level of patient interaction is to their credit and deserves to be recognised though it did impact on the availability of emergency treatment and yes you only got one checkup per year, if treatment was required, you could end up waiting several months. However there does appear to be a creeping effort among dentists to increase private patient care, purely anecdotal at the moment, but worth keeping an eye on.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. The Scottish Government early on in the pandemic gave grants to dentists in Scotland so that they could install HEPA-style air filters in their surgeries thus allowing them to carry out aerosol producing procedures. They were also given free PPE.

      NICE recommends dental check-up on a 3 -24 month cycle depending on the general health of the patient so an annual check-up seems to be the new norm but is probably more to do with managing the back leg as anything else.

      The move towards private dentistry is more than anecdotal.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Just before the first lockdown the dental practice I had gone to for 40 years was sold – the husband & wife who had the practice retired. In the early noughties they had announced they were going to go private but would continue to offer an NHS service for the patients who wanted it. We remained resolutely NHS.

          I had a couple of check-up with the new people before lockdown. Young dentists but different one each time.

          During lockdown a tooth broke and a cap right at the front fell out – hurrah for masks! Once they opened up again I got an emergency appointment. Long story short I got the hard sell on going private. If I went private to get it fixed then I could get it done the following week, if NHS then 6 month wait. Dentist was surprised when I said I would wait.

          I then started checking out the dentists in the local area and found they were almost all either private or in the process of being taken over by a private dental firm.

          I also checked out various practices online and found that many were private patients only but were coy about it hiding behind ‘local’ sounding names.

          Dentists have tried this move into private-only practice before in mid-noughties but ended up getting ‘burned’. A combination of the financial crash in 2008 and my generation retiring – no more private dentistry as a perk of the job – slowed/halted that move into private dentistry. This current move may also hit the buffers due to the cost of living crisis.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Darren Millar is a Welsh Tory who knows damned well where the problem originates, HMG.
    Currently there is a national shortage of ALL medical professionals, worsened when Brexit fully landed, and further stressed at devolved level by reduced funding from WM.
    However you need to look back to the days of George Osborne as Chancellor for clues for the root of the problem.

    eg – Headlining in the recent Jeremy Rhyming-Slang budget was lifting the pensions cap purportedly to encourage doctors to come out of retirement – This was not restricted to medical seniors but applied across the board – Essentially JH used medical professionals shortage to assist the already rich – ie yet another Tory scam.
    JH knows full well damned few having made such a career/practice ending decision will be coming out of retirement now.
    The damage being felt now was started in the early 2000s under Osborne – It was he who imposed the pensions cap on medical “consultants” and slashed numbers being trained.
    The shortages now are not due to a series of unfortunate events, but were engineered a full decade before.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Didn’t you dump me?
      I hope we’re ok.
      My first job was with architects, Baron Bercott and Assoc in Glasgow. Thought he was a baron until someone told me it was a Jewish name.
      Seriously though, while I do not blame Israel for everything, they’re well behind CIA, MI5, NATO, Pentagon…., I do worry about Israel’s democracy and treatment of Palestinians.


  4. Didn’t you dump me?
    I hope we’re ok.
    My first job was with architects, Baron Bercott and Assoc in Glasgow. Thought he was a baron until someone told me it was a Jewish name.
    Seriously though, while I do not blame Israel for everything, they’re well behind CIA, MI5, NATO, Pentagon…., I do worry about Israel’s democracy and treatment of Palestinians.


    1. John, you’re a married man ffs…. Bernie will go spare at your internet dialogues with the “anonymous”… 🙄


    1. Where do you suppose his headlined “bridge” funding is coming from should Moray manage to miraculously spring a million ‘spare’ from their roads budget ?


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