Saturday, March 05, 2011

BDA Warns Oral Health Must Be Tackled By New Assembly, Wales

The government that is elected in May must act swiftly to build on improvements to the nation's oral health, the British Dental Association (BDA) will warn today. To ensure that patients in Wales receive appropriate care in a time of financial constraint, the new administration must tackle inconsistencies in Health Boards' approaches to dental care and address a lack of understanding about the appropriateness of Wales' dental workforce, the BDA is warning.

The BDA's manifesto for the May elections to the Welsh Assembly, Filling the gaps - further improving the oral health of Wales, sets out four priorities for the new Welsh Assembly Government: eradicating oral health inequalities; developing a new dental contract for Wales; supporting Health Boards; and planning for the future.

It argues that careful planning will be essential to meeting Wales's evolving oral health challenges, citing the retention of an increasing number of natural teeth by an ageing population as a trend that requires particular attention. It also calls for the expansion of Designed to Smile - a community-based programme of oral health promotion for children - and better planning of domiciliary dental care services. Concerns are also expressed that low morale could persuade significant numbers of more experienced dentists to retire, leaving patients in some parts of Wales struggling to access dental care.

Stuart Geddes, BDA Director for Wales, said: "Dentists have worked hard to bring about the improvement in oral health Wales has seen during the past thirty years. Dentistry here is now at a critical juncture, and the new administration will need to address a number of significant challenges. At a time when budgets will be under pressure, it must work with dentists to address Wales's persistent oral health inequalities and ensure it does not neglect vulnerable patients and those in rural areas."

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