Newport & Caldicot houses add to NHS and dentist pressures

PATIENTS are struggling to see GPs and dentists because new housing developments are putting a strain on health services.

Senedd members John Griffiths and Laura Anne Jones said a flurry of new estates across eastern Newport and villages in Severnside were piling the pressure on the area’s clinics and surgeries, adding to waiting lists and leaving many people without access to treatments.

Wales’ health minister said the government was “very aware” of the issue and vowed a new super-surgery in the city would help ease the demand, with construction due to begin this summer. 

Labour MS Mr Griffiths said the past few years had brought “a great deal of growth in housing” in places like Magor, Undy, Rogiet and Caldicot – which have all become more attractive locations for commuters since the tolls were removed on the Severn bridges.

“We haven’t seen the sort of growth in primary care services that would reflect that increased population,” Mr Griffiths said. “And many people in those areas now feel that they’re not sufficiently served by GPs and primary care generally, and they would like to see an increase in that capacity”.

He called on the Welsh Government to explain how it was working with health boards in areas where “we have these growing populations, and concerns that primary care capacity is not keeping pace with those developments”.

Senedd members Laura Anne Jones (Conservative, South Wales East) and John Griffiths (Labour, Newport East). Pictures: Welsh Parliament

Ms Jones, a Conservative MS, agreed “primary services aren’t keeping up with the housing developments” across the area and called on the government to increase the number of NHS dentists.

She said people were “rightly concerned about the level of access, particularly to dental services” and “numerous constituents are now reporting waiting times of over a year for a check-up, if they are even able to join an NHS practice”.

South Wales Argus: An artist's impression of the new health centre for Newport East, which will be built in Ringland this summer.An artist’s impression of the new health centre for Newport East, which will be built in Ringland this summer.

Health minister Eluned Morgan said the government was “very aware of the increase in the population” in the region and “when we’re seeing these developments happen, we do need to consider that additional infrastructure”.

She said she was “very pleased” with the plans for the new Newport East Health and Wellbeing Centre, which has been given £28m of funding and will be built this summer next to the existing Ringland Health Centre.

“That [new] facility is going to include a range of clinical services, which will be provided by Aneurin Bevan health board, including general practitioner, community pharmacists, general dental practice services, together with social care and third sector provision,” Ms Morgan said.

“[It is] exactly the kind of model that we’re really interested in rolling out, and Newport is going to be one of the first to see that happening.”


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