Dentists in Wales are warning that many more practioners could start private practices if there is no solution forthcoming from the NHS. The problem is to do with heavy workloads and dentists are threatening to take action by going private if their loads are not lightened.
The UK as a whole in the grip of a dental crisis that threatens to go out of control, thus affecting thousands of poor patients who cannot afford the exorbitant fees charges by private dentists. A NHS website, NHS Direct, has revealed that there are only four practices that accept NHS patients in Wales and this number could go down if dentists choose to go private The website also reveals that there are 500 practices in the country, but only four accept new patients in southeast Wales. The new contracts that are scheduled to come into effect next year and stipulate that instead of getting paid for each treatment, dentists would get paid an annual set rate. This has expectedly ruffled some feathers, "The idea of the new contract is that dentists will be able to spend more time with patients, but there are, of course, only a certain number of hours in the week. So if you are spending more time with individuals you are going to have, by definition, fewer patients," said Stuart Geddes, of the British Dental Association.
The Welsh Assembly Government had announced an allotment of Ģ5 million for local health boards to find ways to keep more dentists in the NHS, but if the present situation is anything to go by, there are tough times ahead for dentists as well as patients in Wales.