Northern Ireland's minister for the economy has responded to fresh pleas for financial support from the dental professionNorthern Ireland’s minister for the economy has responded to fresh pleas for financial support from the dental profession.

The British Dental Association (BDA) wrote a letter to the government calling for a grant scheme to offset lost income from private dentistry.

But it states it is ‘bitterly disappointed’ after receiving a response from Northern Ireland’s minister for the economy, Diane Dodds.

In her recent reply, she states further discussion is needed before further economic arrangements are put in place.

Additional support

‘I do not underestimate the challenges facing your particular profession at this time,’ she writes.

‘However, you will not be surprised to learn that my department is receiving calls from a growing number of sectors, all of whom believe that they require additional support over and above that already offered by the Executive.

‘This includes the current raft of new schemes that have been launched or are in development. Therefore, in considering any further interventions, including new funding or packages of financial support, it will be for the Executive collectively, to determine how this limited budget will be allocated, to best encourage and drive economic recovery moving forward.’

Continue to fight

The BDA stated that the reply ‘fails to respond to the important issues we raised’.

‘This response from Department of the Economy provides none of those assurances required at this difficult time,’ it states.

‘We will continue to fight on behalf of all dentists regardless of their Health Service/private split.’

You can read the full response here.