THE Welsh Liberal Democrats have launched plans to save NHS dentistry in Wales, warning that unless action is taken, it risks going extinct.

The Party has accused Labour Ministers in Cardiff Bay of utterly failing to get to grips with the problem, allowing an appalling two-tier system of dentistry in Wales to flourish whereby if you can afford it you go private, but those who can’t are left waiting in agony for months and sometimes years.

Recent concerns have been raised by the party regarding the number of dentists in Wales approaching retirement

A lack of availability has also been a key issue in north Wales, with research conducted by Sam Rowlands MS, discovering that four out of 57 dentists were taking on new patients in north Wales. 

Talking to her party, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds outlined that using her influence to fix NHS dentistry is one of her top priorities in the Senedd.

Among the proposed actions laid out in the report, which was produced with industry professionals include:

  • Resolving outstanding contract issues as a priority.
  • Integrating primary dental care more closely with other NHS primary care, especially to ensure that services are available in remote and rural areas.
  • Setting targets for Health Boards in terms of numbers of, and waiting times for, appointments, empowering them to use salaried staff to achieve those targets as well as entering into agreements with private sector providers.

Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said: “Dentistry in Wales is in crisis. People who need NHS dental care find it almost impossible to get an appointment – and in many cases can only get one if they go private. Children in particular are missing out on the dental care and support that will set them up for a lifetime of good oral health.

“The Welsh Government isn’t seeing dentistry as a priority, but it’s hugely important to people’s quality of life that they should be able to live without pain or discomfort. 


“In this absence of urgent action from the Welsh Government, we have done their job for them and put forward a comprehensive plan to save NHS dentistry in Wales. It is vital that the Welsh Government now act on our recommendations and save NHS dentistry in Wales before its too late.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We are taking action to improve access to dental services across Wales.

“We’ve increased funding for dentistry and doubled the number of training places for dental therapy at Cardiff University and a new dental hygiene programme started last year at Bangor University.

“Reform of the national dental contract has enabled 155,000 people, who did not have access to NHS dentistry, to receive care this year. We will continue to work with the dentistry sector to monitor and explore reform."