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Carmarthen and Llanelli have no new NHS dental places

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 09, 2013

By Graeme Wilkinson

William Powell

William Powell

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NEW figures show there is not a single dental practice in Carmarthen nor Llanelli taking on NHS patients.

William Powell, a Mid and West Wales AM, has criticised the Welsh Government after collating data from the website NHS Direct.

The Liberal Democrat member claimed the Labour Government had set a 100 per cent target for everyone in Wales to have access to an NHS dentist. But the Government in Cardiff has denied this and said it was unrealistic to offer 100 per cent coverage as many people choose to go private.

Mr Williams said: "It is unbelievable that out of the 15 or so dentists in Carmarthen and Llanelli, not a single one is accepting new NHS patients.

"These figures make a complete mockery of the Welsh Labour Government's ambition for everyone in Wales to have access to an NHS dentist.

"Time and time again, despite repeated warnings from the Welsh Liberal Democrats, this Welsh Labour Government has completely overlooked the dentistry service in Wales. Just stating that everyone should have access to a dentist isn't enough — there has to be action too.

"Sadly, Labour's inaction has led to it being almost impossible for substantial numbers of people to get access to a dentist."

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said it was untrue to say that the First Minister Carwyn Jones had pledged everyone could have access to an NHS dentist.

"He clarified a point made previously in 2008 — that everyone who wanted an NHS dentist should be able to have access to one," she said. "However, this is not a pledge to achieve 100 per cent access for the population of Wales. This is simply unrealistic as not everyone wishes to have regular access to NHS dental services.

"There are manifesto and Government commitments to increase access to dentists where there are problems.

"There are difficulties in some areas and we want to move to a position where anyone who wants access to NHS dentistry can get it."

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