Preseli MP Stephen Crabb has challenged the First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford MS about the difficulties faced by local people in getting dental treatment on the NHS.
On Wednesday morning, First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford appeared as a witness at the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Select Committee. He was quizzed by Members of the Committee on a number of different areas, with Committee Chair Stephen Crabb raising the important question of access to NHS dentistry.
Mr Crabb was responding to an earlier remark by the First Minister that the NHS in Wales always has an "open door" and is "always available". Over the last 12 months, Mr Crabb has been contacted by many concerned constituents regarding the lack of available NHS dental appointments. Within the Hywel Dda UHB, there is a shortage of dentists offering NHS services. Further, those NHS dentists who have already left are not being replaced and patients are being forced to seek private alternatives.
Mr Crabb wrote to Eluned Morgan, MS Minister for Health and Social Service in January this year regarding the poor provision of dental services in the region. But services have only continued to deteriorate further.
Following the session, Mr Crabb further commented:
“NHS dentistry in Wales seems to be disappearing at the rate of knots, and it is disappointing to hear the First Minister again relaying the same rhetoric that the NHS continues to be under significant pressures in Wales instead of implementing measures to fix the broken system.”
“Every single week, I receive emails from constituents who are unable to access NHS dentist due to lack of dentists in the area. It is virtually impossible to get an NHS dentist appointment in Pembrokeshire, regardless of age.”
“Welsh Government need to step up and address this before the problem continues to worsen and stop pushing patients into financial difficulty through promoting private dental care over NHS.”