Funding suspension must be reversed

BDA critical of decision to remove quality improvement grants

The decision to suspend the Quality Improvement Scheme grants for 2010-2011 in Northern Ireland has been criticised by the British Dental Association (BDA).

The BDA argues that the suspension will damage the ability of the country’s dentists to address priorities for quality improvement in their practices.

The Health and Social Care Board has written to all dental practice principals in Northern Ireland to inform them that the scheme has been suspended and that it is unclear whether it will operate later in the year.

The scheme, which has been in place since 2002, has seen approximately £1 million a year invested in Northern Ireland’s dental surgeries to achieve priorities including practice decontamination.

Peter Crooks (pictured), chairman of the BDA’s Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee, said: “Dentists are acutely aware of the difficult financial circumstances that we must all confront, but abandoning the pursuit of quality improvement in practices is not the answer. We urge the Health and Social Care Board to reconsider this decision.”

The BDA has said it will be addressing its concerns to the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and the Health and Social Care Board.