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Vital support maintained for dentists with further action needed

A letter from the Department today has confirmed that the fee enhancements for high street NHS dentists in Northern Ireland under the Rebuilding Support Scheme will continue into the first quarter of the 2023/24 financial year.

Letter to GDPs

We acknowledge the efforts made to maintain vital financial support for the struggling service however continued support will be required beyond June. A further review will take place to consider the Department's position on the 10% enhancement for the remainder of 23/24.

The £14.30 Enhanced Children's Examination Fee implemented in January carries over for another three months into Q1 but will then cease. This enhancement is aimed at easing the financial barriers and dental access difficulties impacting on young children.

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 3 months to put dentistry on a sustainable footing".

With the Department of Health set to start the next financial year managing an extremely difficult budgetary position, we acknowledge the efforts made to maintain vital financial support for the struggling service. We will keep you up to date with any further developments.