New reforms for Northern Ireland
 

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New reforms for Northern Ireland

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New reforms for Northern Ireland

 

New reforms for Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland health minister Paul Goggins has announced plans to improve primary dental services in the region over the next ten years.

The health minister’s Primary Dental Care Strategy is set to modernise dental services and ensure that everyone has access to a dentist. There are plans to improve dentists’ pay, increase out-of-hours services and to put greater emphasis on disease prevention.

Goggins said: ‘At present too many patients have problems finding a health service dentist. I am determined to change that. This package of reforms will radically improve access to health service dentistry.

‘I am giving the health service the resources, tools and flexibility it needs to find new solutions. That’s why, for the first time, local services will be commissioned at a local level, to determine when and where services will be provided and by whom.

‘The traditional system has failed some patients. We need to be more imaginative and more robust in putting patients first. We will also provide a greater focus on disease prevention and patient centred services.

‘In making these changes, we should not forget the needs of our dentists and the wider dental team. We need to improve their working lives, enhance the development of skills throughout their careers and help to promote clinical governance.

‘Many dentists are unhappy with the current payment system. Under the new commissioning arrangements, my department and the dental profession will agree a more appropriate method of remuneration, which will fit in with the overall aim of this strategy.’

The British Dental Association (BDA) in Northern Ireland has given the reforms a cautious welcome. Its worried there is not the resources available to support the plans. ‘We know at the moment that our patients are suffering,’ said Claudette Cristie, director of the BDA in Northern Ireland. ‘They can’t get to a dentist, dentists are moving away from the health service, not because they particularly want to but because they have to.

‘We really want to see our patients on the health service. It’s important that the resources are put in place so that it [the government] is able to do all of that it’s promising and that’s where the detail is missing.’

 Posted on : Thu 7th - Dec - 2006

 

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