Discussing Dental Services And Oral Health
The new arrangements for commissioning primary dental care services in the NHS have now been in place for some 18 months. The new contract has helped to stabilise the provision of NHS dental services and improved access for patients. Local Health Boards have been able to bring in new services if a dentist leaves or reduces their NHS commitment and have found little shortage of takers for new or expanded contracts when offered.
Access problems are now confined to a very few areas and work goes on to improve the position. We expect further progress over the next few months to reach a consistent position where everyone in Wales who wants access to NHS dental care will be able to get it.
However, I also recognise it has been a challenging time for dentists and the NHS. I have listened to the concerns expressed those in the dental profession, Local Health Boards and patients about certain operational aspects of the contract. Today's statement arises from those concerns.
I have therefore decided to undertake a review of the operation of the dental contract following its first full year.