Skip to content
News / May 13, 2009

New dentists for Northern Ireland

by Guy Hiscott

Health Minister Michael McGimpsey has announced the appointment of 38 additional dentists to resolve access difficulties to Health Service dentistry across Northern Ireland.

Broadly welcoming today’s announcement, Dr Claudette Christie, director for BDA Northern Ireland, said: ‘The problems facing some patients who wish to access Health Service dentistry have been well recognised since 2007 and the opening of new dental surgeries staffed by new practitioners is a welcome step towards addressing them.

‘However, while this is welcome news, it is not the sole solution to the problems dentists and their patients face. Also important is that the dentists Northern Ireland does have are properly supported. Today’s announcement recognises both the importance of prevention and the significant cost of providing care. The BDA is currently negotiating a new contract which we hope will support a preventive approach.’

The Minister has awarded a new £17 million contract to Oasis Dental Care Ltd, which will provide the additional dentists in access ‘hotspots’ across Northern Ireland. The contract will run for three years with the option of extension for a further two.

The additional dentists will be located in the following areas:
• Western Enniskillen – six
• Omagh – two
• Strabane – two
• Derry – four
• Northern Carrickfergu – two
• Newtownabbey – four
• Cookstown – six
• Eastern Bangor/Donaghadee – two
• Holywood – two
• Dundonald/Castlereagh – two
• Lisburn/Dunmurry – two
• Carryduff – two
• Southern Banbridge – two
• Dungannon – two
• Newry – two.

It is hoped that the first of these additional dentists will be in place before the end of the year and will be introduced in order of need. All 38 dentists will be in place within 12 months of the initial practice opening.

Making the announcement, Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said: “I know that access to Health Service dentistry has been a matter of concern for many people across Northern Ireland. I am pleased that today I can announce a new contract that will provide access for an additional 57,000 patients.

‘I am confident that this initiative will greatly ease the current access problems, but my officials will continue to monitor the situation, and we shall take further action as is necessary to ensure that the general public has access to a Health Service dentist.’