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Meeting secured with Health Minister

The future of the General Dentistry Service (GDS) will be top of the agenda in a meeting we have secured with Health Minister Swann for late October.

The opportunity to address this vital issue follows our recent letter to the Department which was co-signed by 500 practitioners across Northern Ireland. The letter highlighted the many issues in the GDS that need urgent attention - including the collapse in dental earnings over the past decade.

Further to this, more immediate issues facing general dentistry were addressed in the recent, and second, meeting the of the newly established GDS Rebuilding Stakeholder Group. The meeting took place on 3 September and is also to be a forum to inform longer-term decision-making.

The issues that have threatened the sustainability of Health Service dentistry pre-pandemic must be considered by this group, as has been made clear by our representatives. Central to this is the downward trajectory in dental earnings over the past decade, with the implications that Health Service dentistry has become financially unviable in its own right.

If the Department truly value safeguarding the future of Health Service Dentistry then GDS contract reform must be given a greater priority and sense of urgency.