Sinn Féin MLA Linda Dillon has said an Executive is needed now to support dentists, patients and practices.
The party’s health spokesperson was speaking after the Chair of the north’s Dental Practice Committee wrote an open letter, co-signed by 720 dentists, to the Department of Health Permanent Secretary.
Linda Dillon said:
“It has been clear for a long time that NHS dentistry is in dire need of reform and additional investment.
“Many patients are unable to access NHS dentistry due to dentists opting to take private sector patients as a result of historic underfunding of the NHS and this has piled pressure on already struggling dental practices.
“Patients on waiting lists for treatment cannot access care due to shortages in staffing within dentistry and the inability of dental practices to open their lists to new patients.
“There is a real threat to NHS Dentistry as we know it, with no direction or plan to put services on a sustainable footing as one party’s boycott rumbles on.
“Urgent action is needed now to ensure that dental services are accessible and sustainable. This is one of a number of growing priorities that an incoming Executive must deal with.
“We need an Executive restored now and a Health Minister in place to support dentists and patients, to ensure dental services are made sustainable and to implement much-needed reform.
“There can be no more delays or excuses.” CRÍOCH/ENDS