The Minister of Health for Northern Ireland has responded to the profession after it voiced disappointment over pay decisions.
Robin Swann has written to the British Dental Association NI (BDA) after it slammed the government for failing to introduce a proposed rate for additional hours.
In November, the government passed a temporary regional rate for additional hours. The rate stands at 1.33, lower than the BDA’s proposal of 1.6.
Mr Swann wrote that he ‘appreciates the disappointment’ of the profession. However, he states the rate of 1.33 is in line with other medical and dental groups.
‘Whilst I appreciate your disappointment in not having your proposed enhanced rate of 1.6 times the basic rate plus time off in lieu accepted, the one applied (time and third) is in line with other medical and dental groups,’ he states.
‘Whilst a proposal was sought from the BDA, this was not part of a negotiated process.
‘I appreciate that you and your colleagues feel aggrieved by the lack of engagement.
‘However, my officials have worked tirelessly. They have helped to ensure the inequity between the medical and dental and community dental contracts was rectified as soon as possible.’
In their letter earlier this month, the BDA wrote that morale is ‘significantly damaged’ by the decision.
‘In consequence, the goodwill of the CDS service has been decimated after delivering care,’ wrote Grainne Quinn, chair of the BDA NI salaried dentists committee chair.
‘This is without knowledge of what or when staff might be paid for additional non-contracted hours worked, over the past 9 months during a pandemic.
‘They have been treated despicably. Morale has been significantly damaged. And over an issue which should have been resolved much more adequately, and much more sooner.’