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​Department maintain support for dentists, but more certainty needed

With the Department of Health set to start the next financial year at a £300m deficit, the British Dental Association has acknowledged the efforts made to maintain vital financial support for the struggling service.

The Department has confirmed that fee enhancements for high street NHS dentists will continue into the first quarter of the 2023/24 financial year. A further business case will be submitted for continuation of this funding for the remainder of the year.

An enhanced £14.30 fee to see unregistered children will also carry over into Q1 but will then cease.

Ciara Gallagher, Chair of the BDA's Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee said:

"We recognise the concerted effort that has been put in to ensure this vital support will remain in place.

"Today's announcement only covers the period to June, dentists will require continued support and certainty for the remainder of the financial year, and beyond, if we are to stem the flow away from Health Service dentistry.

"With patient care continuing to be severely impacted in the wake of COVID, we must find a way of measuring and addressing the costs of delivering NHS dental care, to make NHS dentistry financially viable for practitioners.

"Below-inflation uplifts which bear no resemblance to soaring costs of care will no longer cut it. We must use the next three months to put dentistry on a sustainable footing."