Cuts ‘will take a wrecking ball’ to dentistry
The British Dental Association (BDA) Northern Ireland has criticised analysis by the Department of Health suggesting that a cut of more than £250m can be achieved without damage to services.
The document stated: “While savings at this scale cannot be made without some impact, our analysis suggests measures up to this value can be delivered without long-term or irrevocable damage to services.”
The department has confirmed the Rebuilding Support Scheme (RSS), which allows eligible General Dental Practitioners (GDPs) to apply for a 10 per cent enhancement to the Item of Service fees claimed for Health Service treatment provided, will be cut at the end of the first quarter in 2023/24.
Meanwhile, the department’s Budget Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) also warns that as things currently stand, it will not be possible to offer a pay award in 2023/24, further undermining a service with chronic recruitment and retention problems.
Ciara Gallagher, chair of the BDA’s Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee said: “Whoever claimed that savage cuts can be delivered without damaging NHS dental services could not be more wrong. Cuts have consequences and these will be irreversible. Officials risk taking a wrecking ball to services patients across Northern Ireland depend on.”