At a visit to the Park View Dental Clinic in Ely, Cardiff, the Minister for Health and Social Services, Lesley Griffiths launched the draft National Oral Health Plan for Wales.
The draft Plan fits in with the Welsh Government’s vision for the NHS in Wales outlined in Together for Health and sets out the vision for improving oral health and reducing oral health inequalities over the next five years and beyond.
Lesley Griffiths said:
“Oral health is an intrinsic part of general health and prevention is at the core of the draft Plan. Reducing the factors that lead to oral disease is only possible if the delivery of dental services and oral health improvement programmes are focused towards primary health care and prevention. One of the draft Plan’s major goals will be to help people take responsibility for ensuring their own good oral health.”
The consultation closes on 12th October 2012 and the document is available via the Welsh Government website.
The Minister also announced an increase in dental patient charges. A Band 1 course of treatment, which covers advice, x-rays, and a scale and polish will rise by 40p to £12.40. The Band 2 charge, which includes fillings, root canal treatment and extractions, will rise by £1.20 to £40.20. There is no increase to the top band 3 charge of £177.00.
The increase of 2 per cent is the first since 2006 and comes into effect from 1 September 2012. The additional income generated will be invested in improvements to local NHS dental services.
Lesley Griffiths added:
“We managed to freeze dental charges in Wales for five years to enable those who may be deterred by the cost the best chance of good oral health.
“Dental charges represent an important contribution to the overall cost of dental services and this slight increase will generate additional resources, every penny of which will be invested back into NHS dentistry to help further improve dental services in Wales. We are committed, in our Programme for Government, to improving access to dentists where there are localised problems.
“We are keeping the increase below inflation and charges in Wales will remain significantly lower than those in England, where charges have increased by 11 per cent since 2006.”
The Programme for Government sets out as key aims an increase in access to dentists where there are localised problems, prevention of poor oral health and a reduction in inequalities by the continued implementation of Designed to Smile to improve the oral health of children.