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​Northern Ireland: Dental reform manifesto launched

7 March 2022


Bookended by strong media coverage, we launched our manifesto for Rebuilding and Reforming Dentistry at Stormont on 7 March. Attended by MLAs from across the political spectrum, our manifesto launch has already generated a number of party press releases committing to take our issues forward in the next mandate.


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We launched our manifesto at Stormont, amidst a strong media presence, with a number of 

MLA’s in attendance.


We were pleased that the Assembly Health Committee on 15 March also included an evidence session on dentistry. Our manifesto was mentioned during the Q&A session:


 

 

We are facing a deeply uncertain future, with a massive hike in costs to deliver Health Service dentistry following Covid. Without additional support being made available, it remains unclear whether Health Service dentistry can survive this pandemic. That's a matter of grave concern for practitioners and the public alike. However, ahead of the Assembly Elections in May, our manifesto makes clear to all parties what is required to reform and rebuild the service.

Our manifesto clearly outlines the problems we are facing, and most importantly, the solutions. We need:


  1. Firm foundations: We must put the necessary resources in place to underpin the recovery, and parallel development of a new General Dental Services Contract
  2. A sustainable workforce: We must develop a dental Workforce Strategy that's fit for the future, so Northern Ireland has the dentists it needs
  3. Action on inequalities: We need investment to save with an ambitious Oral Health Strategy to deliver better oral health for all.
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     Colm Gildernew MLA, Chair of the NI Health Committee, sponsored our manifesto launch.


Speaking to representatives from all parties, BDA NI Council Chair Roz McMullan said:


"We need an NHS dental practice contract to deliver high quality, prevention-based care to all who need it. The contract must deliver better outcomes for our population, while also being financially viable.


“Our colleagues are facing a huge Covid backlog and need to be assured the service has a strong future. Otherwise, the UK’s deepest oral health inequalities will continue to widen. We must prioritise the rebuild and reform of dentistry to secure a better future.


"We need to know where and how to focus a limited budget to get the best outcomes and we need vision and new thinking to deliver new models of care across the entire dental system."


Our manifesto makes clear why rebuilding and reforming dentistry must be prioritised, the work of our dental professionals must be valued, and investment must be made in delivering better oral health for all.


Following our manifesto launch, we will continue to raise the very serious issues within dentistry with politicians, policymakers and the media. Please join us, and make your voice heard by emailing a copy of our manifesto to your MLAs, including your stories about the need for fundamental reform in dentistry.


Find your MLAs email addresses, and ask for their support to ensure the Reform and Rebuild of Dentistry and firm financial foundations for GDS is included in their Party Manifesto ahead of the May Assembly elections.


We hope you will add your voice to this campaign. Together we are stronger.