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Minister officially opens community dental unit

8 October 2012

Dentist treating a patient
Rohit Chandegra treating a patient

The Minister for Health and Social Services, Lesley Griffiths AM, has officially opened the new Primary Care Dental Unit in the Cynon Valley, an outreach unit providing a wide range of free dental care from final year School of Dentistry students to residents without a dentist.

The Unit at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon is designed to provide dental care to individuals in an area of Wales in high dental need and opened its doors to the public in January of this year. Since then the clinic has provided comprehensive dental care to more than 600 local residents, who previously did not have access to a dentist. In addition, the Unit facilitates high-quality "on-the-job" experience for senior trainee dentists and dental care professionals.

The experienced dental students offer treatment under the supervision of tutors at the state-of-the-art facility, based in Mountain Ash. The aim is to help patients reach a good standard of dental health and then allow them to register fully with a dentist. An estimated 10,000 people in the Cynon Valley do not have access to a dentist.

A partnership between Cwm Taf Local Health Board, Cardiff and Vale UHB, and Cardiff University, and funded by the Welsh Government, the unit provides 18 treatment bays and builds on the success of the first Primary Care Clinical Teaching Unit (Cardiff and Vale UHB and Cardiff University) at St. David's Hospital, which has been running for ten years.

Health Minister Lesley Griffiths, who was given a tour of the facility and performed the official opening, said: "I am pleased to see the Clinical Teaching Unit at Ysbyty Cwm Cynon benefitting both students and local residents since it opened its doors in January. This fantastic state-of-the-art facility is delivering on two levels. Not only is it bringing dental services to patients in an area of high need, it is giving fifth year dental students more practical experience before they finally qualify and go onto positions in practices."

Professor Michael Lewis, Dean of the University's School of Dentistry and Director of the Dental Division of the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: "The new Mountain Ash outreach clinic is doubly good news for dental services in Wales.

"As Divisional Director, I'm delighted to see this fantastic state-of-the-art facility delivering services to patients in an area of high need. As Dean of the School of Dentistry, I'm equally pleased to see that our students are being taught with the best possible equipment and will benefit from delivering dental treatment directly to patients in their own area."

Watch the video: A day in the life of 5th year student Kristian Davies at the Cynon Valley Primary Dental Care Unit:

Peter Ash, Director in Primary Dental Care, Dental Teaching Units, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, told the Minister about the extremely positive feedback that had been provided by many patients who had received dental treatment from the students.

He said: "It has been an extremely busy but also successful first nine months and we are all delighted with how well the establishment of the Unit has gone. We have provided a large number of episodes of greatly needed treatment to members of the public, who had previously been struggling to find a dentist. In return, the patients have provided our final year students with an excellent opportunity for hands-on teaching.

"The patients are extremely pleased with excellent standard of dental care provided to them which, in many cases, has made a real difference to their lives."

Dr Chris Jones, chair of Cwm Taf Health Board, said: "This unit offers the people of Cynon Valley access to dental treatment when they need it in a state-of-the-art facility. As well as improving the range of services in the community, this unit is also hoping to train the next generation of dentists.

"We have been proud to work in partnership with Cardiff University and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board to develop and provide this dental unit. This builds on and continues Cwm Taf's reputation for enabling access to NHS dentistry and training the dentists of the future."

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