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Northern Ireland: Financial Support Scheme extended

03 September 2020

 

We welcome the news that Northern Ireland’s Financial Support Scheme will be extended for a further month.

 

We have been regularly engaging with the Department of Health regarding post-September GDS COVID financial support for over two months. Our position is that the current Financial Support Scheme should continue - with no abatement and amended eligibility rules to allow excluded GDPs access to funding - until better information is available regarding fallow time and the risk of a second wave of COVID cases recedes. We will accept no reduction of GDS gross funding levels.

 

Thankfully, the Department of Health have listened. Instead of pushing ahead with a replacement scheme, they have decided to extend the Financial Support Scheme for a further month to incorporate the September-October payment period. This should allow time for upcoming SDCEP guidance on fallow time to inform any future funding support.

 

GDPs should be aware that the September-October Financial Support Scheme will have two conditions attached to it. GDPs will be asked whether they have provided treatments involving AGPs to Health Service patients. Only those that have will receive payments with the 20% abatement removed. GDPs will also be required to submit all outstanding completed Item of Service claims by 08 October. Failure to do so may result in reduced support payments in the future.

 

In the meantime, we will continue to engage with the Department of Health on its proposals for future financial support. Fortunately, we are now armed with the evidence derived from the BDA NI Activity Survey. The data generated from the survey was extremely useful and we will be sharing it with officials and political stakeholders over the coming weeks. This will help us make the case for dentistry, and we would like to thank everyone who took the time to fill it in.

 

Armed with this evidence, we will continue to strive to ensure that Health Service, mixed, and wholly private dental practitioners receive the financial support they need to continue to treat patients during this pandemic.