A CHANGE to services aimed at improving accessibility to NHS dentists could be coming to North Wales soon. 

Sam Rowlands, Member of the Welsh Parliament for North Wales, has cautiously welcomed news of a new dental helpline for patients in North Wales.

Dentist accessibility has been a much debated topic across Wrexham and Flintshire with several residents reporting issues.

There have been reports of residents pulling their own teeth out after not being able to get an appointment with a dentist. 

Mr Rowlands, a harsh critic of the lack of NHS dentists in North Wales, says he is pleased to see Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board putting measures in place to help urgent cases.

According to the MS for North Wales, the health board says they know that patients have faced difficulties contacting their dental helpline to secure an urgent appointment, following an initial triage by NHS 111 colleagues.

To help address this, they are set to trial a call-back service, whereby NHS 111 staff share triage information with dental helpline staff, who will then make outbound calls to patients to arrange an urgent appointment.

Further details of the pilot have yet to be revealed by the Health Board, but more information is set to be released in the New Year. 

The news was welcomed by Mr Rowlands, who said: “As I have said many times in the past the lack of NHS dental provision in North Wales is a major problem.

“It is good to see that the Health Board are going to introduce a pilot scheme with a call back system for people who need emergency treatment. However, there still remains problems for people in North Wales trying to get on the books of an NHS dentist.


“We still keep hearing that more and more dentists are no longer offering NHS services and this is extremely worrying.

“Earlier this year I carried out research into the availability of NHS dentists in Wales and was shocked but not surprised with the results.

“Only four of the 57 dentists I contacted in North Wales were accepting new NHS patients and of those four dentists taking on new NHS patients, all had waiting lists of two years or more.

 “This is unacceptable and is denying people in North Wales their right to access NHS dental services."