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BDA NI welcomes £1.5m boost to ventilation

19 February 2021

The British Dental Association Northern Ireland has welcomed the £1.5 million boost to dentistry announced today by the Department of Health, in response to our calls to support dental practices to invest in new infection prevention and control measures, including ventilation systems, to mitigate the impact of Covid on dentistry.


Practices are open and safe – but most are running at a fraction of their former capacity, which means that thousands of patients are missing out on being seen by a dentist. The number one barrier that dentists face is the fallow time, the gap that has to be left between patients who require any procedures that generate aerosols (e.g. fillings or crowns), to minimise the risk of infection.


Many dentists can only bring that time down by investing in new ventilation equipment. The BDA welcomes funding to shorten the fallow time which will enable more patients to be seen by dentists.


Richard Graham, Chair, Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee commented:


"Dental practice ventilation has been one of the key barriers to increasing patient throughput during this pandemic. We therefore welcome the Department of Health's willingness to listen to our concerns and the expediency with which it secured this additional funding.


"We look forward to working with the Department in the months ahead to address other barriers to increasing patient throughput such as PPE funding and the physically exhausting experience of wearing Level 2 PPE for extended periods.


"We must all work together to secure the sustainability of Health Service dentistry throughout this COVID pandemic and beyond."