Northern Ireland: Making the case for dentistry
8 October 2020
Once again, we've made your case to the Northern Ireland Assembly Health Committee, outlining how and why dentistry needs serious commitment from Government in our written submission.
We've asked for:
- Urgent financial certainty for GDPs
- Additional support for mixed/private-oriented practices
- A fit-for-purpose appeals mechanism for financial support scheme payments
- PPE - general dental practices were disgracefully excluded from access to a central supply of PPE during the first wave
- A Government financial support scheme for any capital/structural works that may be required to comply with new fallow-time restrictions, or to attain reduced fallow-times where practitioners want to pursue this option
- An end to the unacceptable delays in awarding pay uplifts
- The NI Executive to implement timely annual pay uplifts, and make timely awards of additional funding needed to respond to new pressures
- The Department of Health to address the collapse in morale within the dental profession, and take action to avoid any further systemic stressors reducing morale even further
- An urgent decision to be taken on what overtime rate of pay will apply to CDS dentists who have worked beyond their normal hours, after 6 months of delay
- An overarching plan for the resetting of dental services - general, community and hospital - is required. In essence, we want a new deliberate Oral Health Strategy
- Dentistry to have direct representation at a senior level within the Department of Health, including on the management board
- Fundamentally, the Department of Health must provide whatever support is necessary to help the dental profession - and dental services - get through this crisis.
Our input from GDP, hospital and community dentist representatives is asking for an approach that maintains a degree of stability, and stops the perpetuation of an all-out crisis in the profession and the provision of dental services. We hope to follow up on our recommendations in a special Health Committee session on dentistry in the near future.
We must avoid a situation where GDPs can see no future or business sense in continuing to provide Health Service dentistry. The profession has been pushed to the brink on a number of occasions - we urge the Health Committee to continue to offer compassionate leadership on our behalf to avoid such a scenario.
Making your voice heard is more important than ever right now, and we will continue to campaign on your behalf.