The chief dental officer for Northern Ireland has confirmed urgent dental care centres (UDCs) will continue operating seven days a week

The chief dental officer for Northern Ireland has confirmed urgent dental care centres (UDCs) will continue operating seven days a week.

This follows communications sent on 7th July where the CDO, Michael Donaldson, set out the board’s intention to reduce service provision at all UDCs.

However, in a new letter to the profession, he confirmed UDCs will operate Monday to Sunday until the end of August, if necessary.

The letter reads: ‘I am extremely grateful to all the staff in the five Trusts, Dalriada Urgent Care and HSCB who have altered their own personal plans to allow this to happen.

‘I am also extremely grateful to the GDPs who will staff the UDC slots. I realise that many of you have been doing this since the end of March and that you had hoped to devote your full energies to your practices.’

Reduce the burden

Additionally, he added that the board is also making progress with fit testing measures.

‘The board is continuing with efforts to fit test more GDPs for the UDC rotas so that the burden on individual GDPs may be lessened,’ it states.

‘I would encourage those of you who have not yet come forward for UDC work/ fit testing to do so. In a separate development, I will be writing to you later today providing details of a fit testing reimbursement scheme that the board is setting up.

‘It is hoped that this will help get more dental staff fit tested and reduce a key constraint to providing AGPs in the GDS.’

The British Dental Association (BDA) welcomed the move, adding that it was ‘pleased to see a significant U-turn’.

You can read the full letter here.