Siân Gwenllian MS says the closure of a dental practice in Caernarfon is symptomatic of long-term problems in dental care.
Siân Gwenllian MS, who represents the Arfon constituency in the Senedd said that the Welsh Government needs to find ‘a clear way forward’, after the announcement of the closure of Bupa Dental Care's Caernarfon practice.
Staff members at Bupa dental practices in Colwyn Bay and Caernarfon were told last week that the practices will close in February of next year.
The local Member of the Senedd, Siân Gwenllian, responded;
‘The news that Bupa's dental practice on the Cibyn Industrial Estate will close is a huge disappointment. I have been contacted by a number of constituents expressing their concern, and unfortunately the news does not surprise me.
‘I have corresponded with representatives of the Health Board and with the Health Minister since my election in summer of 2016, requesting an update on what action the Health Board is taking to address shortages in dental care services in Arfon.
‘Back in July of 2016 I raised concerns regarding the lack of dental surgeries in north Wales willing to take NHS patients.
This announcement is another blow.’
The MS' comments come in light of today’s announcement (16.11.20) by the British Dental Association (BDA) that dental practices are currently operating at only a fraction of their capacity, due to the pandemic. The association warns that hundreds of dental practices could close within the next year.
The Plaid Cymru Member of the Senedd for Arfon said;
‘I have asked the local health board for an urgent update on their plans to address this situation and the steps that are to be taken to ensure that NHS patients are able to access other dental services without delay.
I am particularly concerned, of course, about those who cannot afford private health services and who therefore rely solely on NHS services.
The Welsh Government must ensure that adequate dental care are available for the people of this area.’
Closing both practices is likely to affect over 20,000 patients, but the company has refused to confirm this figure.
Siân Gwenllian MS added;
'Over-reliance on the private sector appears to have resulted in huge gaps in service provision when companies choose to close branches.
The Welsh Government needs a long-term plan to address these challenges.