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Underspend funding being sought for general practice

The Finance Minister recently requested government departments to submit fresh funding bids, due to a considerable COVID-19 underspend in Northern Ireland.

We’re working to secure access to these funds for general practice.

We wrote to the Health Minister last week, calling for additional funds to support practices with ventilation costs and PPE. Our asks also included financial support to be made available for private dentistry.

We are pressing for something akin to a revenue grant scheme. This would help recompense practitioners for some of the investment already made in ventilation installations over this financial year, and where investment is yet to take place. Of course, at this stage, there is no guarantee these funding bids will even be successful, or what detail they are likely to take.

In support of this, we have been gathering evidence of the significant costs that have or will be incurred in ventilation installation and upgrades. This information will be key as the Department of Health (DoH) puts forward the necessary funding bids.

Practices are facing many serious challenges including financial pressures reliant upon the continuation of adequate FSS support from DoH. We continue to raise these on your behalf. We also want to see the pre-COVID-19 issues that have blighted Health Service dentistry in the GDS properly addressed when it comes to the future rebuild of HSC services.

As evidenced in our recent submission to the 21/22 DDRB process, for Health Service dentistry to be sustainable into the future, it must be a financially viable proposition in its own right.