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News / June 5, 2008

Board to recruit dentists from abroad

by Guy Hiscott

The Western Health and Social Services Board are to try and recruit dentists from overseas in a bid to ease the dental dilemma in the North West.

Judi McGaffin, director of Dental Health, informed the Board last week that it had not been possible to secure the services of six salaried dentists despite earmarked funding.

She also revealed waiting lists in border areas were being exacerbated by patients from the Republic using dentists in Northern Ireland.

In the latest advertising campaign two applications had been received and interviewing took place in January, but no appointment was made, as the applicants did not meet the criteria.

Ms McGaffin said the advertising campaign had involved the newspapers and journals that were normally used by the Western Health and Social Care Trust, and had not been ‘location specific’.

She told members that the Trust may now readvertise and would work with a recruitment agency abroad in order to recruit general dental practitioners. She then went on to reiterate how a further attempt to recruit dentists would be made by securing additional dental services from the independent sector through a large scale tendering process, with areas in the greatest need getting preference.

She said that many dentists had NHS patients on their books, but apparently their practice lists were full, and she highlighted a quality issue whereby dentists were taking on more patients leading to longer waiting times for all.