Dentists in Ireland have slammed the decision to cut back support to 10%, sparking calls for ‘meaningful support’.
The Rebuilding Support Scheme, which was introduced in April this year, applied a 25% uplift on fees paid for health service treatments. This was implemented to help dental practices recover from the impact of COVID-19.
But now officials have confirmed support will be cut back to 10% from October.
The British Dental Association (BDA) stresses that with rising costs within a service that was under pressure even before Covid, there is now a ‘perfect storm’.
It argues that with dental inflation in excess of 12%, practices will not be able to sustainably continue to provide HS treatments.
Fit for purpose
Ciara Gallagher is chair of the Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee. She said: ‘A lifeline that helped keep practices afloat has been cut and dentists are reeling at the message that this sends regarding their futures within the NHS.
‘Practitioners face a perfect storm, with expenses on the rise and fees from government. These do not cover the costs of delivering care.
‘We want to continue caring for our patients – but cannot do so at a loss. Like any business, dental practices have to balance their books, meet payroll and fulfil their obligations to suppliers. When fees paid do not match costs to provide care, this is not possible.
‘If health service dentistry is going to survive, we need meaningful support until a new, fit for purpose contract is in place.
‘At a time of widespread dental access issues, and when practices do not view health service dentistry as being financially viable, we are genuinely concerned at the impact on this vital public service from these latest cuts. We need extra investment, not less. Time and goodwill is running out.’