At its recent meeting, the BDA NI Community Dentists Committee (NICDC) rejected the Department of Health's proposal to move to localised arrangements with individual Trusts. Instead, a request was made to enter into a fresh, single-item negotiation with DoH to put in place a new additional hours rate that is fit-for-purpose, comparable with other HSC arrangements and has the effect of adequately incentivising CDS staff who choose to work beyond their contracted hours to undertake waiting list initiatives.
Last year, CDS dentists were left feeling outraged and demoralised when a low rate of 1.3 was imposed on the profession with no room for negotiation, after many months of this protracted issue being unresolved.
We want to see DoH come up with an offer for additional hours that is fair, and that enables CDS dentists to support any waiting list initiatives aimed at clearing the significant backlog of vulnerable patient care that has grown during the pandemic.
This issue needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency, and we have asked that it be fully addressed ahead of the next NI Joint Negotiating Forum meeting scheduled for 8 December.