Posted: Mon 25th Mar 2024

NHS dental charges to increase in Wales for first time in four years

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales

The cost of NHS dental treatment in Wales is set to rise from 1 April 2024, the Welsh government has announced.

The adjustment marks the first increase in dental charges since April 2020, with the revised fees still positioned below those in England, the Welsh government said.

Under the new pricing structure, patients will encounter three standard charges for treatment, ranging between £20.00 and £260.00, based on the nature of the dental care required.

Urgent treatment fees will see an increase to £30.00.

Around 50% of people receive NHS dental treatment for free in Wales.

Those eligible for free treatment include children under 18 or those aged 18 and in full time education, pregnant women or those who have had a baby within the 12 months of treatment starting, anyone who has dentistry treatment carried out in a hospital or people on certain benefits.

Additionally, the low-income scheme provides full or partial help with health costs, depending on individual circumstances.

In a statement, a Welsh government spokesperson said: “Despite pressure on budgets the Welsh Government has increased investment for dentistry, with funding £27 million higher than it was in 2018 to 2019.”

“Included within this increase is an additional £2 million a year to address local access issues.”

“Changes to the dentistry contract in Wales include a requirement for NHS practices to see new patients. Since this was introduce in April 2022, 312,000 people who couldn’t get an appointment before have now received NHS dental treatment.”

Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Eluned Morgan, said:

“Because of the extreme pressure on our budget we have had to consider if additional funding should be raised by increasing dentistry charges.”

“This is the first increase we have made to dentistry charges since 2020. Around half of patients don’t pay for their NHS dental treatment and we will continue to protect those that are least able to afford to pay.”

“It is vital we all keep our teeth and gums healthy. This is why we are working to make it easier for people to see an NHS dentist by increasing the number of new NHS places and helping dentists to focus on those who need help by changing how often we see a dentist for routine appointments.”

Commenting on the announcement, Russell George MS, Welsh Conservative Shadow Health Minister said:

“Vaughan Gething’s arrogant choice to hike up dental charges for the people Wales, rather than cut his Labour Government’s wasteful spending is wrong.

 “All standard charges are being increased for dental services by the Labour Welsh Government, including for urgent treatment, which will add to cost-of-living pressures.

 “While Welsh Conservatives agree that dental services require greater investment after years of Labour underfunding them, ministers should look at cutting vanity projects like their plans to create more politicians before passing on the cost to patients.”

More information on dental charges and exemptions can be found here. The NHS online checker can also provide information on if someone is entitled to help with dentistry costs. .

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