General dental services in Northern Ireland have been promised further funding in the face of COVID-19.
The Department of Health has secured an additional £5 million in a bid to offset income reductions from patient charges. The new package matches the £5 million of extra funding pumped into the Financial Support Scheme (FSS) since April 2020.
The British Dental Association (BDA) welcomed the news.
‘An incredible amount of work has gone into securing this additional funding which is key to maintaining FSS at around current levels in the months ahead,’ it states.
‘We continue to engage with officials around how best to track activity while avoiding unnecessary burdens being placed on practitioners.
‘We acknowledge the efforts of DoH officials in getting this significant funding bid over the line at a time when competition for government finances is becoming more intense.’
On Wednesday, first minister Arlene Foster announced a spectrum of measures, which included the closure of the hospitality sector.
She said: ‘We are facing the tough reality of rapidly rising rates of infection.’
From today, pubs and restaurants will be limited to takeaway and delivery services for the next four weeks. In addition, schools will be closed for two weeks from Monday.
Official figures show Northern Ireland has had more than 23,000 cases since the onset of the pandemic. One quarter of these have been logged in the last week.
There are currently no additional limits on dental practices.