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Northern Ireland: Dental payment issues must be treated as a matter of urgency


1 December 2021


Urgent solutions must be found following the emergence of PPE payment issues relating to Code 3001.


We are extremely concerned that deficiencies in the Code 3001 payments system means practitioners are not receiving reimbursement for PPE that is due to them. Moreover, the extra time practitioners are being expected to spend manually trawling through records, is a huge source of frustration.


These issues were raised in a recent meeting between members of the NIDPC and the Business Services Organisation who met on 17 November 2021 to discuss problems arising from the Code 3001 process. This meeting highlighted software-related problems, as well as various scenarios in which the payments system does not recognise valid PPE payment.


We have emphasised the importance of an urgent 'fix' to this situation in our letter to Michael O'Neill and have raised the situation with the Chief Dental Officer. Furthermore, we have provided the Department of Health with a list of examples where valid PPE claims are being rejected. In response, DoH have committed to forwarding our concerns to HSCB to find a resolution.


It is not only PPE payments that are causing concern. We are aware of a number of cases where dentists on maternity leave or bringing in a locum are being penalised under FSS. Despite IoS activity being undertaken, it appears that the payment system is unable to recognise that the spirit of FSS is being adhered to. This is particularly the case when there is a lag in claims submitted for completed courses of treatment.


This issue, which disproportionately affects female dentists on maternity leave, has been elevated to HSCB and DoH and we have asked for a review to be undertaken.


It is more crucial than ever that the dental payments system is fit-for-purpose. These issues have caused significant frustration and do untold damage to the faith practitioners have that they are being paid what is due to them. That is simply not acceptable, and we will be continuing to press DoH/HSCB and BSO to address this as a matter of urgency.