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News / July 9, 2010

Funding suspension must be reversed, says BDA Northern Ireland

by Guy Hiscott

The BDA has warned that the suspension of Quality Improvement Scheme grants for 2010-2011 in Northern Ireland will damage the ability of Northern Ireland’s dentists to address their priorities for quality improvement in their practices.

The Health and Social Care Board has written to all dental practice principals in Northern Ireland to inform them that the scheme has been suspended and that it is unclear whether it will operate later in the year.

The scheme, which has been in place since 2002, has seen approximately £1 million pounds a year invested in Northern Ireland’s dental surgeries to achieve priorities including practice decontamination.

Peter Crooks, Chair of the BDA’s Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee, said: ‘For the second time in three weeks, Northern Ireland’s dental practices have been told that the funding they rely on to deliver quality care for their patients is being reduced. Firstly the pay award failed to recognise the expense burden on practice and now funding which practices rely on for quality improvements has been suspended.

‘This is a double whammy for dentists and their patients. Dentists are acutely aware of the difficult financial circumstances that we must all confront, but abandoning the pursuit of quality improvement in practices is not the answer to the problems we face. We urge the Health and Social Care Board to reconsider this decision.’

The BDA will be addressing its concerns to the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the Health and Social Care Board.