In response to the worsening Coronavirus situation, BDA Northern Ireland has this week pressed the NI Executive to introduce financial mitigation measures for dental practices.
Such measures are essential to ensuring the sustainability of Health Service committed independent dental contractors at this unprecedented time.
Following a meeting with the Chief Medical Officer on Friday, assurances have been received that the Department and HSCB are fully cognisant of the potential for major financial impact on HS dentistry through an expected fall in activity.
The CMO and senior HSCB officials have assured us the Department is, “committed to maintaining the same level of Health Service dentistry after Coronavirus, as before”.
On that basis, BDA NI has been told officials in the Department are currently working up financial mitigation measures, which will be submitted for approval by the Health Minister. These will in turn be passed to BDA for consultation around the middle of next week.
BDA Northern Ireland deployed a major lobby on this key issue this week:
- Setting out clearly the potentially extremely serious financial implications faced by general dental practitioners in a letter sent to the Health Minister, which we copied to the Chair of the Health Committee, Executive colleagues including First and deputy First Ministers, the Finance Minister, and senior HSCB representatives
- The BDA NI Council Chair, NIDPC Chair and Northern Ireland Director took up an opportunity to present evidence to the NI Assembly Health Committee - on mitigation measures and other oral health concerns - this week (Thursday 12 March)
Richard Graham, Chair of the BDA’s Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee said:
“We have made the case as firmly as we can for financial mitigation measures urgently to the CMO at this meeting. We trust practitioners will be somewhat reassured by the urgency being given to dentists, and on mitigation measures at this uncertain time. Of course, we will have to await the detail of these measures.
“Colleagues face real financial and procedural uncertainty, and important safety considerations for themselves and their staff. That is why a list of questions have been collated following consultation with BDA NI committees, and forwarded to Michael Donaldson, Head of Dental Services at HSCB who has been charged with leading on Coronavirus by the Department in the CDO’s absence. We have been assured ongoing guidance will be forthcoming.
“This is a fast moving situation, but be assured your union is committed to doing everything in our power to press for mitigation measures, and for much needed clarity.”