The Dentist Magazine.

BDA: GDS Revenue Grant Scheme only one part of the solution

Published: 2/28/2019 12:00:00 AM

BDA Northern Ireland has said a £1 million grant scheme to assist dental practices to meet patient care and safety standards must be viewed in the context of the financial pressures on GDPs. 

A recently announced 2018/19 HSCB Revenue Grant Scheme mirrored on last year’s scheme will offer practice level grants, with some additional transformation funding for dental x-ray film digital image converters for practices without digital radiography capability.

Richard Graham, chair of BDA NI’s Dental Practice Committee, said, “It would be churlish not to acknowledge this revenue grant scheme for general practice. However, the reality is that this falls considerably short at a time when £7.7m underspend has been reallocated away from the 2018/19 GDS budget.

“At a non-contract meeting on December 3, BDA presented a paper to HSCB and Department of Health officials evidencing the falling income of practice owners and associates over the past eight years. That paper included a series of asks, one of which was a repeat of last year’s Revenue Grant Scheme.

“BDA will continue to influence for a broad range of measures to be brought forward that can meaningfully address the inadequate fees on offer for providing Health Service dentistry.”

Key asks in the BDA ‘Sustainable Dentistry’ paper:

  • Full implementation of the DDRB recommendation 2018/19 immediately backdated to 1st April with an additional uplift to address the non-payment in 2015/16
  • Reinstatement of commitment payments as an important psychological step to begin to address the low morale and motivation of dentists committed to the Health Service and arrest arresting the pay pressures which dentists in Northern Ireland have experienced over the period 2008/09 to 2016/17
  • Reinstatement of an annual Quality Improvement Scheme to allow practices to re-invest in patient care
  • Simplification of the practice allowance to enable practices get the money they are due without unnecessary barriers being put in place
  • Money earmarked for dentistry within the GDS to be retained within dentistry
  • A grant scheme similar to the Revenue Grant Scheme January 2018
  • Essential equipment for Health Service dentistry to be fully funded for all practices delivering Health Service dental care, for example emergency drug kits 
  • A mechanism put in place aimed at ensuring GDP remuneration is adequately protected from all essential costs of delivering Health Service dentistry, including the cost of any new regulation