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News / June 9, 2009

Northern Ireland dentists poised to tread their own path

by Guy Hiscott

Speaking at the opening of the BDA’s three-day conference and exhibition held in Glasgow last week, BDA Executive Board Chair, Dr Susie Sanderson, championed the plight of general dental service dentists working in Northern Ireland.

Dr Sanderson said: ‘Nowhere has the effect of political devolution on health been more pronounced than in Northern Ireland, where the Government has overtly shunned any suggestion of introducing the Unit of Dental Activity, determined not to follow the path trodden by the administrations in London or Cardiff 

‘Equally it has decided not to retain the basis of the old system favoured here in Scotland, but instead is developing a new general dental services contract of its own. The basic concepts are now established and the BDA is pressing for proper consultation and piloting to take place to ensure a smooth implementation of a successful system.

‘We know this is an acute period and we really want to be able to support members through this transition, so we’ve increased our staff numbers in the Northern Ireland Office and we’re focusing on the piloting process. Whilst the implementation of the contract is still some way off, I’d like you to be sure that BDA will be helping every step of the way through dedicated advice and guidance.’

Dr Sanderson said she was optimistic that the voices of dentists and patients, which seem so often to have been ignored, will have a chance to be heard.