Confusion over NI pay awards
The British Dental Association in Northern Ireland is asking for clarification over whether pay awards will be given to GDPs in the province.
The Department of Health announced the public sector pay policy for 2017-18 on Wednesday (15 December) but failed to clarify whether the 1 per cent uplift would be applied to non-salaried front line staff such as dentists and GPs.
A spokesman for the BDA said: “In the absence of Ministers and agreement on a Northern Ireland public sector pay policy, the department has agreed to implement the below inflation one per cent uplift that was recommended earlier this year by the NHS Pay Review Body and the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration.
“The pay policy, agreed by the Department of Finance this week, allows the Department of Health to implement the one per cent pay award for health and social care workers, including salaried dentists.
“We are now in touch with department officials and health sector partners to demand assurances on awards for Health Service independent contractors.”
Savings recommendations on hold
The BDA has also cautiously welcomed the news that the funding cuts proposed by the five Health and Social Care trusts in Northern Ireland have been put on hold.
In the absence of a Minister of Health in Northern Ireland, the trusts were asked to address the £70 million funding shortfall for 2017-18. Each published proposed recommendations to go forward for approval by the Department of Health.
A spokesmen for the BDA said: “We condemned any proposed cuts, highlighting the fact that the budget for the General and Primary Dental Service in Northern Ireland has fallen in real terms, year on year, since 2012, whilst tooth decay remains the leading cause of hospital admissions among children.
“The Department of Health has now injected an additional £40 million into the Health Service and the five Trusts have now chosen to stand down their major recommendations for the time being, although savings are still expected to be required.
“We are currently seeking clarification on whether the Trusts calculations will take into account the 2017 one per cent pay lift for dentists.”