‘Don’t take CDS for granted’, says BDA

New deal sees hard-working staff in Northern Ireland’s Community Dental Service finally receive improved terms and conditions after they had been adhering to contracts that were drafted in the 1980s

Northern Ireland’s Community Dental Service must never again be taken for granted, says the British Dental Association (BDA) following news that terms and conditions in the Service will be brought up to date.

Until this decision those in the service were working to contracts drafted in the 1980s. The service provides dental care for people across Northern Ireland including children and adults with learning disabilities, health problems, phobias, and those unable to leave their homes.

Despite a deal being reached, and funding allocated to local Trusts by the Department of Health in 2016, Stormont had refused to implement the contract without formal ministerial approval. Following BDA pressure, permanent secretaries have finally agreed to rollout of the ‘new’ contract from April 2019. 

The new deal will see pay finally come into line with community colleagues in the rest of the UK, and will be backdated to 1 April 2015.

Grainne Quinn, Chair of the BDA’s Northern Ireland Salaried Dentists Committee, said: “I am delighted to see this contract finally being implemented within the Community Dental Service in N Ireland. Our hard-working staff deserve the improved terms and conditions, and they have been very patient awaiting its implementation.

“This has been a surreal experience. Since initial agreements in 2016, the BDA have been trying to get this contract implemented, but have been thwarted at all stages with first – no Minister present – and secondly, no government in place. Despite this, we pushed ahead looking at every opportunity to raise this issue with senior officials to enable us to get to completion this week. Our members should never have been put in this position, and they are finally getting recognition for their valuable work.

“Paralysis at Stormont had left the care for thousands of vulnerable patients at risk. Community dentists had been left facing an uncertain future, working to rules drafted three decades ago. Finally, after a decade of negotiation, frustration and inertia we’ve got a result.” 

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Published: 14 May, 2019 at 07:22