‘The Powys dentist shortage is Labour’s fault’ – Jane Dodds MS

Powys is facing a dentist shortage crisis as more than 20 per cent of dentists in the county approach retirement.

The situation, bad across all of Wales, is particularly acute in rural areas.

A report compiled by myself and my team on access to dentistry in Mid & West Wales also found that people were living in pain or unable to eat properly, because they could not find treatment – and that the poorest were suffering most as they were least able to afford to pay for private dentistry.

According to figures from Stats Wales, 14.18% of dentists in Wales in 2020-2021 were over the age of 55. In Powys, the figure is 20.1% meaning it has the second highest number in all of Wales.

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These statistics show why it is sadly no wonder people are desperately turning to DIY dentistry across Wales.

Our NHS dental system is at breaking point, it really is a scandal. Access to NHS dentists is already a postcode lottery and with 20 per cent of dentists facing retirement soon the problem only looks set to get worse.

The Welsh Government is asleep at the wheel when it comes to the crisis in NHS dentistry.

To be clear, this crisis is not the fault of dentists. They work extremely hard and have to operate within the system that exists. But that system is broken and only the Welsh Government can fix it.

Jane Dodds MS

To help reduce current pressures while more dentists are trained, I would urge the Welsh Government to consider increasing the availability of dental therapists and nurses, as well as considering introducing travelling NHS dentists who can rotate through areas of concern to help clear backlogs.

People across Powys are being let down by Labour taking them for granted. This is especially true in rural Wales where the problem is even more serious.

Jane Dodds MS is the Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats. 

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