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Northern Ireland: Dentists warn radical action needed to save dental services

Health service dentistry in Northern Ireland could be caught in a "death spiral" without radical action, more than 700 dentists have warned.

They say a combination of factors could make the service unsustainable.

These include a potential ban on dental amalgam metals used in fillings, budget pressures and a "financially unviable contractual framework".

The dentists have called on the Department of Health (DoH) "to show leadership and take action now".

A DoH spokesperson said the department "valued the important role" of dentists and was "aware of the ongoing pressures on dental practices".

In an open letter to Peter May, the top civil servant at the DoH, dentists from the British Dental Association (BDA) Northern Ireland warned that services were under "intolerable pressure".

The letter said: "Despite clear evidence and repeated warnings issued by the BDA about the death spiral health service dentistry in Northern Ireland appears to be in, we have seen inaction from the authorities."

The dentists added that a move away from health service dentistry was "well and truly underway" and dentists would "be increasingly driven out of health service dentistry to keep their practices afloat".

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Source: BBC News, 30 January 2024


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