South Wales West MS Sioned Williams today criticised the Labour Welsh Government for not doing enough to tackle the current crisis in NHS dentistry waiting times, following the publication of a new report which revealed the “true scale of the crisis” which supports the findings of a survey she carried out of residents living in the South Wales West region which she represents.
Last year, Plaid Cymru MS Sioned Williams conducted a survey into her constituents’ experiences of using dentistry services in the NHS, where hundreds of people complained of difficulties in accessing free dental services, and long waiting times, and raised the issue at the Senedd in a question to the Health Minister.
The report, published today by the Senedd Health and Social Care Committee, revealed that the number of individuals awaiting NHS dental treatment in Wales is not clearly established, making it difficult to focus assistance in the right places and calls on the Welsh Government to “review whether the current levels of funding are appropriate for the service to achieve what’s needed in terms of reducing the backlog”.
Sioned Williams said:
“The picture painted in today’s report completely aligns with the responses I received last year from hundreds of my constituents in South Wales West.
“The report paints a damning picture of dental services across Wales, and of the Labour Welsh Government’s inaction in dealing with this crisis. The Senedd report also echoes the findings of a recent report by Swansea Bay Community Health Council which highlighted that 70% of people feel pressured to seek private dental care in order to get an appointment and many cannot access NHS dental services, including pregnant women and children.
“It cannot be fair that the rich can jump the queue by going private while others are left without adequate services, or any dental provision at all, and I am not persuaded that the Welsh Government contract reform will adequately and immediately tackle this crisis. I support the Senedd Health and Social Care Committee’s call for radical reform to ensure the future of NHS dentistry.”