Cardiff patients struggling to see a dentist, with spaces available at just 2 out of 48 practices

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Dental patients in Cardiff are struggling to access NHS services, as just 2 of the city’s 48 dental practices are taking on new patients.

Cardiff and Vale Health Board has revealed that there are spaces available at just 2 of the 48 practices in the area; however, an additional 2 practices in Roath and Rhiwbina are offering a one-of course of treatment for those in need of urgent care. Places are currently on offer in Pentwyn and Cyncoed.

The health board and the Welsh Government have confirmed that extra funding has been made available in a bid to expand services and prevent problems associated with poor access; however, the British Dental Association Wales claims that the issues have been caused by capped budgets for courses of dental treatment.

Richard Birkin, national director for the BDA Wales, said that NHS targets are preventing practices from taking on new patients and believes that it would be better to run a system based on prevention, rather than cure, which would save a great deal of money in the long-tern. Trial programmes have been underway for some time in a bid to find ways of promoting preventative treatment and the Government is working to draw up a new contract, which aims to encourage people to adopt better oral hygiene habits, improve standards of oral health in England and Wales and reduce pressure on dentists.

Support manager of dental and optometry primary care at the health board, David Oliver, confirmed that £200,000 have been made available by the Welsh Government to improve access to NHS dental services for new patients and those not currently registered with a practice. Currently, many practices are accepting names for a waiting list and working through the list as places become available.

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