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Financial support wins for practices confirmed

The Department of Health has now responded to a number of our requests for clarification regarding COVID recognition payments and vaccination remuneration in Northern Ireland.

Over two letters sent to the BDA, Health Minister, Robin Swann MLA, has confirmed the following:

1. £500 support payments
We have good news that GDPs and their staff will be included within the eligibility scope to receive the Health and Social Care Board's £500 payments. We were adamant that this should be the case. Full details on this have still to be worked out.

2. £1.5m available to NHS and mixed practices
After our case for underspend monies to be directed to GDS was accepted, £1.5m funding is being made available for ventilation upgrades and other alterations aimed at increasing patient throughput. Known as the Patient Throughout Scheme, NHS and mixed/private practices (excluding solely private practices) will be eligible, and claims will be made on a per surgery basis in each practice. Practices will be written to with further information on the scheme, eligible expenditure and their practice allocation amount later this week.

Read the full response from the Health Minister.

3. PPE costs
We also report that the Minister has recognised the ongoing financial pressures associated with PPE, and we will continue to highlight this as an area of need.

4. Recognition payments for students
The Department will not be changing the criteria they have chosen relating to £2,000 special recognition payments. Their reasoning is shown in their response. This is disappointing, but we will continue to work to ensure dental students are supported as fully as possible during this difficult period.

5. Vaccinator pay
We questioned why GDPs are being remunerated at Band 5 which is considerably below their medical counterparts. We have been informed that while doctors and employed dentists are being paid under their existing Ts and Cs, for any other individual it is at the assessed level of the role, which was agreed by the four nations at equivalent to AfC Band 5.