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​Northern Ireland: Financial support for GDPs and FDs

20 August 2020


An additional condition has been attached to the Financial Support Scheme (FSS) and a grant has been provided for FD supervisors in Northern Ireland.

Yesterday, the Department of Health wrote to all NI GDPs announcing the inclusion of an additional condition in the August-September Financial Support Scheme. As part of the usual application process, GDPs will be asked whether they have provided treatments involving AGPs to all categories of GDS patients. Only those that have will receive FSS payments with the 20% abatement removed. The Department’s intention is to ensure that registered Health Service patients are not being denied access to treatments involving AGPs.

We, the Northern Ireland Dental Practitioners Committee, have been regularly engaging with the Department of Health regarding post-September GDS financial support for nearly two months. The dialogue has been necessarily robust on several occasions.

Our negotiating position is that the current Financial Support Scheme should continue - with no abatement and amended eligibility rules to allow excluded GDPs access to funding - until better information is available regarding fallow time/PPE and the risk of a second wave of COVID cases recedes. A further extension of the FSS would also allow more time for further data on activity rates and PPE costs to be developed – allowing for a better targeted, more informed, FSS replacement. NIDPC is also fighting hard to ensure that Gross GDS funding levels remain comparable with 2019/20 levels.

The plight of private/mixed practices have not been forgotten, and we continues to press their case with the Department for the Economy and the Department of Finance.

Foundation Dentists in Northern Ireland have faced great uncertainty regarding extended training and securing satisfactory completion of the required clinical competencies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We welcomed the news that extra funding to allow FDs to extend their training for a further three months has been approved The £5000 uplift to the ES grant for the 2020-2021 DFT Schemes has been signed off by the Permanent Secretary and all ESs in the 2020-2021 DFT Schemes have been informed of this.

We will continue to liaise with the Dental Dean to discuss this and related issues and we will continue to update you.