Monday, April 30, 2012

Welsh Government planning to provide 100% access to the NHS dentists by 2016

A concerning number of dentists are accepting new patients, with only 37% of NHS dentists in Wales doing so.  This figure has served as a wakeup call for the Welsh government, who have decided to set itself ambitious targets to increase access to NHS dentists for those struggling to get appointments.  It has also been pointed out that of those dentists that are actually accepting new patients into their surgeries; almost two thirds have long waiting lists for those patients to be seen.

Private dental practices offering their services to those with dental insurance are not having the same difficulties as the NHS, with 70% of those practices accepting new patients into their fold. 

Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, Kirsty Williams, has come out saying that something needs to be done about these statistics.  The Welsh Labour Government has set a target of the end of the current assembly in 2016 for all NHS dentists to be accepting new patients.  The report, produced by the Welsh Lib Dem party, has highlighted that dentistry is something that has been overlooked in Wales and is now facing considerable problems because of this.

They are planning on monitoring the current governments commitment to working on the level of NHS dental services very closely, making sure they are keeping to what they have said and holding them fully responsible. 
Across the UK as a whole, figures in the GP Patient Survey from the Department of Health, carried out last year, painted a more promising picture.  It showed that 59% of patients have tried to get an appointment with an NHS dentist in the last two years and of those people, 92% were successful and overall 83% of NHS patients were pleased with the service they received.  

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Health concerns surround air quality

How often do you think about air quality?

Most of us will generally only worry about pollution sporadically after reading about it it in the newspapers or in the more general sense of clean transport and green energy.

But it looks like the air's maybe not as clean as we think, with some recent research findings by the MIT, who published the results from a recent study into the UK's air quality on the pages of Environmental Science & Technology.

And it doesn't make for cheery reading: the MIT believes that 13 000 people are dying in the UK every year as a result of air pollution. Now, this is  a big number - especially when you compare it with the number of fatalities from RTAs, which is approximately 2000 a year according to the Guardian's report on this item.

And the outlook? Well, it's hazy at best. But given that traffic is seen as one of the main causes of air pollution, we can only hope that the incoming new generations of emissions-free vehicles will provide a swift fix to the air quality in our cities.

For more on air pollution and health, check out this NHS Choices link on the subject.