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New powers must begin to address dental policy logjam

Blog Author Tristen Kelso

Blog Date 03/10/2018

Full in-tray

 

​BDA Northern Ireland has written to the Permanent Secretary at the Department of Health, calling for urgent sign-off on key decisions relating to dentistry.

 

Decision-making in Northern Ireland has been affected by the absence of Ministers at Stormont, and the challenge to the civil service's authority to fill the void following the Arc21 decision.

 

While the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland wants to see the political parties get back to work at Stormont, she has said she will put in place interim arrangements to guarantee the continued delivery of public services with legislation, "to give greater clarity and certainty to enable NI departments to continue to take decisions in Northern Ireland in the public interest and to ensure the continued delivery of public services".

 

In our letter to the Department of Health we highlighted some of the key areas where progress needs to be made, including:

 

It remains to be seen what form any new decision-making powers will take.

 

However, it is vital that the Department of Health is left in no doubt about the growing stack of issues that need dealt with from a dental policy context, particularly at a time when morale is at rock bottom, with a decade of reduced dental pay being an important factor.

 

We will continue to press for a resolution on the pay uplift for 2018/19 – we've said that nine years of austerity are negatively impacting dentists and that the UK Government needs to sign off the uplift asap, in the absence of an NI Executive.

 

Addressing these issues goes to the heart of safeguarding a future for Health Service dentistry here, at a time when two thirds of dentists say they question their future in the profession.

 

Tristen Kelso

Director, BDA Northern Ireland

 

BDA Northern Ireland

BDA Northern Ireland supports, represents and promotes, the interests of all dentists working in Northern Ireland. Working with elected committee members, we negotiate on behalf of the profession on terms and conditions, pay and contracts. Join us.