Welsh Investment in Dental Care

Andrew Wilkinson Dental claims

The Welsh Government has recently committed £1.3 million to improve dental services across Wales by creating 10,000 new NHS dental places in some of the most deprived areas.

Welsh Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has said that ‘Improving dental services and patients’ access to them is a top priority for the Welsh Government.’[1] He followed this up by announcing that the Welsh Government will be investing money to create 10,000 new NHS dental places to improve access for people who live in the most deprived areas of Wales. As part of this investment, the Welsh Government have pledged £450,000 to the Cardiff and Vale Health Board and £300,000 to the Aneurin Bevan Health Board in the aim of improving patient access in these areas.

In addition to investing in these deprived areas, the Welsh Government also plans to invest in services for the most vulnerable patients. Vaughan Gething confirmed that the Welsh Government are ‘investing in new specialist paediatric dentistry to ensure the needs of the most vulnerable children are met.’[2] This will help to reduce the effects of dental disease in those who are less likely to afford it and in those vulnerable age groups. By investing in the NHS dental services, the Welsh Government hopes to reduce waiting time for hospital-based services and to reduce dental waiting times. Further, by offering preventative care to children at a younger age, it serves to reduce the need for urgent dental care later in adult life.

The British Dental Association (BDA) say that this pledge represents only a quarter of the sum that was taken out of the budget last year. Figures obtained by the BDA show that £6.6 million was taken out of the dental budget in 2016 as a result of the NHS not hitting government set targets.[3] Where they welcome any investment into dentistry, the BDA argues that this investment doesn’t go far enough. They think that the money taken out of the dental budget ought to be reinvested into providing greater oral health services. The Chair of the BDA’s Welsh Dental Practice Committee does not believe this to be a new investment, instead calling it ‘Creative accounting’.[4] They argue that all money budgeted to be spent on dentistry should be spent on actually improving the oral health of children and adults in Wales.

Following the BDA’s comments on the new investment, a spokesperson from the Welsh Government responded stating that most of the recovered funds are reinvested into NHS dentistry.[5] The pledge by the Welsh Government to invest further in paediatric dentistry comes following a report published earlier this year. The report shows a fall in the number of five-year-olds who have decayed, missing and filled teeth in Wales.[6] The investment shows a continuing commitment from the Welsh Government to improve the condition of children’s teeth.

Tooth decay is one of the most common causes of toothache. However, toothache can occur as a result of negligible dental work. Negligible dental work may be a result of misdiagnosis, providing incorrect or inadequate treatment, or even as a result tool fragments being left in the tooth after treatment. If this is the case, then Smith Jones Solicitors may be able to help you claim compensation for dental negligence. Our dental team comprises of a highly qualified dentist, who works alongside our Specialist Personal Injury Solicitors to get you the compensation that you deserve.

For more information about dental negligence, you can visit our Dental Negligence page, have a look at our handy Dental Negligence FAQ’s, or call our friendly team on 0800 195 95 90.

[1] Welsh Government, ‘10,000 new NHS dental places to be created in Wales’ (Published 8th August 2017) <http://gov.wales/newsroom/health-and-social-services/2017/dental-places/?lang=en>
[2] Welsh Government, ‘10,000 new NHS dental places to be created in Wales’ (Published 8th August 2017) <http://gov.wales/newsroom/health-and-social-services/2017/dental-places/?lang=en>

[3] British Dental Association, ‘Welsh Government’s creative accounting does not equal new investment’ (Published 8th August 2017) <https://bda.org/news-centre/press-releases/Pages/Welsh-Governments-creative-accounting-does-not-equal-new-investment.aspx>

[4] British Dental Association, ‘Welsh Government’s creative accounting does not equal new investment’ (Published 8th August 2017) <https://bda.org/news-centre/press-releases/Pages/Welsh-Governments-creative-accounting-does-not-equal-new-investment.aspx>

[5] BBC News, ‘Row over £1.3m 10,000 new NHS dental places funding’ (Published 8th August) <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-40830438>

[6] BBC News, ‘Tooth decay in children aged five falling, report shows’ (Published 7th July) <http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-40504891>