Dentists in Northern Ireland feel demoralised and call for government action


A letter depicting the depraved situation dentistry finds itself in was addressed to the government and is gaining traction and interest, now containing over 500 signatories. It is asking for the Department of Health to outline realistic and achievable resolutions.

Chair of the British Dental Association’s Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee, Richard Graham, commented: “We have reached a point where the majority of NHS committed dental professionals are feeling utterly demoralised, burned-out, and concerned for the future,”

“Due to the covid-19 infection prevention control measures, dentists are having to work even harder than before“

“Already, we see the difficulties patients have in accessing NHS dental services. That situation will only be compounded many times over if dentists continue to see little hope that their decades-old contract model will be replaced with something that works. Both for practitioners, and the public alike.”

“A 1990s activity contract model that was driven into the ground pre-COVID, has collapsed irreparably. We need an overhaul of GDS, and we need it urgently.”

The dental industry is restricted by the quantity of patients that can be attended to each day. Due to the covid-19 infection prevention control measures, dentists are having to work even harder than before. There are numerous other challenges that are causing problems for dentistry, some examples include recruitment difficulties and accessibility problems.

In July, statistics were published outlining the average earning for the dental industry had dropped by more than 4% compared to 2020.

Richard Continued: “When post-pandemic, patients across Northern Ireland are already struggling to access dental services, these figures should serve as a wake-up call.”

“Before COVID struck, Health Service dentistry was run into the ground. Colleagues are facing the greatest oral health problems in the UK. But their hands are tied by a decades-old contract model. As well as chronic underfunding in wholly inadequate fees that no longer make any financial sense.”

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