Reflecting back on 2019 for our work on the Northern Ireland Salaried Dental Committee (NISDC), a key success for us this year was finally getting the Community Dental Service contract eventually signed off, and after a few false starts, implemented throughout Northern Ireland.
This was a very important development not only for myself (Groundhog Day does not cover it!) but for all those community dentists throughout the service who day and daily work with the most vulnerable in our society to provide their dental care.
It was long overdue and very well deserved.
The BDA Northern Ireland office and all of your representatives have been working hard over the year, raising the profile of the work of community dental teams and lobbying the Department of Health on behalf of the service, to address our continuing concerns about poor levels of oral health in our child, vulnerable and elderly populations.
This included meetings with Richard Pengelly, Permanent Secretary of Department of Health and Chief Executive of Health and Social Care NI, Eddie Lynch, Commissioner for Older People for Northern Ireland and wider members of the health service to promote our messages.
The announcement of the development of the Oral Health Options groups to look at children and the older people's oral health was very welcome, and we look forward to engaging constructively with the Department and other experts to start to address these concerns.
NISDC has also highlighted our workforce challenges both now and moving into the future, and we are delighted that the Department is listening to our concerns and engaging with us and that they have agreed to carry out a workforce review of the Community Dental Service in 2020.
All of these have been very positive achievements and would not have taken place if it were not for all the hard work and support of the BDA Northern Ireland staff, all our representatives, working tirelessly for the greater good, and also you as BDA members, for making all this work possible - thank you to everyone who supports us.
I'm really looking forward to working with all our colleagues in addressing all the challenges and celebrating all the successes that the Community Dental Service may encounter during 2020!
Grainne Quinn, Chair
Northern Ireland Salaried Dentists Committee
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.