Dispute over £1.3 million 10,000 new NHS dental places funding

A row has broken out over a £1.3 million investment to create 10,000 new NHS dental places.

The money comes as part of wider funding to improve NHS dental services in Wales.

Cardiff and Vale health board will receive £450,000 and Aneurin Bevan £300,000 to help meet ‘a growing need’.

The British Dental Association (BDA) called it ‘creative accounting’ and said this was a quarter of £6.6 million taken out of the dental budget in 2016. It said this cash was taken out ‘as a result of NHS dentists not hitting the tough targets set by government in their contracts’ and not reinvesting in dental services.

When asked whether money had been taken out of dental services, Health Secretary Vaughan Getting said there would ‘never be a time when resources would be perfect’ and there was an ongoing conversation about contract reform in the NHS.

Katrina Clarke, chairwoman of the BDA’s Welsh general dental practice committee, said: “Year in, year out money allocated to NHS dentistry has been used to balance the Welsh Government's books.

"Creative accounting does not constitute new investment. The best thing the Welsh Government could do is commit to ensure all money set aside for dentistry is actually spent on improving the oral health of children and adults in Wales.”

The Welsh government said new money would also go into strengthening specialist children’s dentistry and new specialists would work with general dental teams to improve children’s preventive care and treatment.

A report earlier this year said the proportion of five-year-olds with tooth decay in Wales had continued to decrease.

The Public Health Wales dental survey showed those from the most deprived backgrounds had the biggest fall over the past decade.

Gething said of the funding: “This will improve access to NHS dental services for people in some of the most deprived areas of Wales.

"We're also investing in new specialist paediatric dentistry to ensure the needs of the most vulnerable children are met.”

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