Government admits engagement with profession has been ‘inadequate’, says BDA

22 July, 2020 / infocus
 Will Peakin  

A Scottish Government minister has admitted that its engagement with the dental profession has been “inadequate”, the British Dental Association said today.

The association met Joe Fitzpatrick, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, and Tom Ferris, Scotland’s Chief Dental Officer, to discuss the phased return to dentistry, the BDA said in in a post on its COVID-19 blog.

“During this meeting we highlighted issues that matter to dentists in Scotland – private and public. We also encouraged the Scottish Government to communicate more frequently and effectively with the profession. We reiterated our dissatisfaction with recent engagement from the Scottish Government, and the minister acknowledged that this has been inadequate.

“We urged the minister to ensure the financial viability of dental practices, and stressed the financial difficulties facing mixed and private practices. We raised concerns about the long-term funding model for Scottish dentistry with the minister, with the recognition that the profession will not be returning to pre-COVID arrangements.

“The minister indicated a wish to move towards more productive negotiations and his wish to discuss dentists’ concerns primarily with the BDA, rather than other newly formed dental groups.”

In a subsequent post, the BDA said: “Our frustration with the lack of support from the Government for private dentists was a main focus of this afternoon’s meeting of the Scottish Dental Practice Committee Executive sub-committee.

“We agreed to write to the minister to once again seek financial support for private dentistry, to build on this morning’s meeting with the Public Health Minister and CDO.

“We will include evidence from members of the financial difficulties facing mixed practices, especially those with a large percentage of private income.

“We will also express concerns to the minister about the £75m shortfall facing practices due to the lack of patient charges under the current interim funding model.”

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