The BDA’s leaders in Northern Ireland have branded the announcement on the funding of health service for dentistry in Northern Ireland as ‘unrealistic’.
The Department of Health Social Services and Public Safety’s (DHSSPS) confirmation of a pay award which produces no increase to net earnings for high street dentists and minimal uplift to practice expenses has confounded the profession.
Salaried dentists working in Trusts are to receive a 1% pay increase.
Claudette Christie, BDA director for Northern Ireland, says: ‘The basis of this announcement is simply unrealistic. Northern Ireland’s dentists have provided health service care to 900,000 people in the communities they serve this year. Salaried dentists working in Trusts treat some of the most vulnerable patients in the community. For dentists to fulfil their responsibilities to these patients it is important they are properly supported.
‘The idea that practitioners can reduce practice running costs does not reflect the reality of a situation where practices face sharply escalating costs. This approach by DHSSPS is particularly disappointing given their acknowledgement in evidence that in view of a new contract continuing to be some way off, then efficiency gains should not be sought in practice in Northern Ireland.
‘With dental practices as small businesses at the cornerstone of communities across Northern Ireland, dentists are all too aware of the difficult financial circumstances we all confront. But as clinicians, employing highly skilled staff, they’re also aware of the absolute importance of maintaining standards for their patients and investing in the care they provide.’