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Dentists greet leadership from Welsh Government on restoring access

09 December 2020

 

The British Dental Association has welcomed the Welsh Government’s commitment to offer capital funding to help dental practices secure new equipment to expand patient numbers.

 

Health Minister Vaughan Gething MS has agreed a funding package of £450,000 in 2020-21 to support dental practices in improving surgery ventilation. The BDA had appealed to all four UK governments to provide support, and has welcomed the Welsh Government’s leadership on the issue.

 

Nearly 80 per cent of practices in Wales are running at under half their pre-pandemic capacity. ‘Fallow time’ - the time gap mandated between procedures to minimise risks of viral transmission - is currently the number one barrier practices face to increasing patient numbers. New ventilation systems can help practices slash their fallow time to a matter of minutes, offering hope of significant expansion in patient access.

 

The package will enable many practices to invest in new kit, which the majority of practices reported they were unable to fund independently. The BDA is now seeking detail on the mechanics of the fund.

 

Dr Katrina Clarke, Chair of British Dental Association’s Welsh Council said:

 

"The Health Minister has shown real leadership in getting dentistry back up and running.

 

"The rules dentists are obliged to work under have left millions across the UK unable to secure an appointment. This pledge of capital funding will translate into better access for families across Wales.

 

"From decay to oral cancer every lost appointment represents a missed opportunity to nip problems in the bud. The Welsh Government has put patients first. We look to the authorities in Westminster, Belfast and Edinburgh to do the same."