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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 January, 2004, 06:59 GMT
Efforts to solve dentist shortage
Dentist (generic)
There is a shortage of dentists in some parts of Wales
A continuing shortage of NHS dentists in some parts of Wales has forced health officials to go to new lengths to try to find new recruits.

While the Welsh Assembly Government has begun offering grants of up to 50,000 to encourage dentists to set up practices in areas where the shortages are worst, a team from Pembrokeshire's local health boards is combing recruitment fairs as far afield as London to try to find more dentists.

It is concerned at the level of take-up of the assembly scheme in its area.

Of the six new dental practices to result from the scheme in the past two years, none has been in the county, although the initiative has enabled a practice in Milford Haven to expand.

By talking to newly -qualified dentists from across the UK in person, the health officials hope to persuade them to practise in Pembrokeshire.

The county has one of the highest number of vacancies for NHS dentists in Wales.

Queue at dentist
More than 600 people queued to get on a Carmarthen NHS dental list
Stuart Moncur, of Pembrokeshire Local Health Board, said there were several reasons for the high number of dentist vacancies.

He said: "We probably haven't been training enough dentists nationally.

"There is certainly a tendency for more dentists to look at options around private dentistry.

"And also there is an issue about general trends in dentistry where we've got far more people working in other areas of dentistry, including hospitals."

The extent of the shortage of dentists in some parts of rural Wales became clear in July 2003 when 600 people queued to take up the NHS places on offer at a new practice in Carmarthen.

And in October last year, The British Dental Association (BDA) warned there was a severe shortage of dentists in Wales with the situation unlikely to improve without financial support to persuade new practices to open up.


SEE ALSO:
Dental crisis: Your views
31 Jul 03  |  Wales
Dentist shortage - hundreds queue
28 Jul 03  |  South West Wales


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