Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Health and Social Services
I wish to inform Assembly Members of the publication today of the draft National Oral Health Plan for Wales for consultation.
The proposed Plan, which fits in with our vision for the NHS in Wales outlined in Together for Health, outlines an agenda for improving oral health and reducing oral health inequalities in Wales over the next five years and beyond.
Oral health is an intrinsic part of general health. It is the responsibility of everyone providing health services, to play a role in helping to deliver the oral health improvement we need to see.
Prevention is at the core of this Plan. Reducing the risk factors that lead to oral disease, is only possible if the delivery of dental services and oral health improvement programmes are focussed towards primary health care and prevention.
Our 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. In addition people need to be aware oral health is just as important as their general health and well-being. The draft Plan outlines how the Welsh Government intends to meet these commitments. It examines the issues relating to oral health focusing on:
- the inequalities in oral disease and who is particularly at risk;
- how we can improve the effectiveness and efficiency of our services; and
- how we can improve the quality of dental services so they promote access and health outcomes, as well as provide excellent treatment.
The Plan identifies the action required by the Welsh Government, Local Health Boards, the Department of Postgraduate Dental Education and other stake holders to address the challenges we face across three main themes of Oral Health Improvement; Service Development and Delivery; and Quality and Safety.
Following publication of the agreed Plan, Health Boards will be required to develop Local Oral Health Plans for 2012-16, working jointly and strategically with other Health Boards, the overall aim being to ensure that improving oral health and developing dental services become an integral part of Health Board delivery plans.
The consultation runs until 12 October 2012 and following this, a finalised Plan will be published.