THE WELSH Liberal Democrats are calling on the Welsh Government to improve access to dental care for the elderly in Wales.

The party made the call in the Senedd on November 14 in order to 'help combat' rising levels of oral cancer.

According to an Age Cymru survey, 80% of elderly patients reported negative experiences accessing dental care, an increase of 10% from the previous year.

That same survey found a patient taking out a £1,600 loan just to cover dental costs.

The Welsh Lib Dems are now calling on the Welsh Government to do their bit to improve access to dental care for the elderly, to reduce rising cases of oral cancer amongst the older generations, with a peak in cases amongst those aged 60-69.

Party leader Jane Dodds MS said: “Incidents of Oral and Pharyngeal cancer, which disproportionately impact the older generation, have been rising steadily since 2002."


She added: "However, as ever, there is hope in the form of readily available and accessible dentistry services.

"According to the British Dental Association, 9 in 10 people diagnosed with oral cancer survive if it is caught early.

"But increasingly more elderly people are facing an impossible choice between living with dental pain or paying exorbitant bills for private treatment.

"I have heard countless stories of people paying exorbitant amounts to access treatment where NHS provision has failed.

"Now is the time for Welsh Labour to act and stop neglecting our dental services here in Wales.

"The Welsh Government must act now to end the crisis in NHS dentistry.”

A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “We are investing more money across primary care services than ever before, to ensure people can access the right care, at the right time, in the right place.

"Welsh Government investment into dentistry has seen a steady budget increase for the last five years and funding today is at £167 million - £25m higher than in 2018-19.

"Ultimately, stopping smoking and reducing alcohol intake are the key actions people can take to reduce the risk of getting oral cancer.

"If a person is concerned about anything in their mouth, urgent care is available either through their regular dentist or through the NHS 111 service.”