The number of children receiving dental treatments beyond basic exams in Northern Ireland is down by 37% when compared to the pre-pandemic activity levels.
The findings come as part of the annual report on family practitioner services carried out by Department of Health for Northern Ireland.
From the level of service to gender distribution in the workforce, the report looked at a number of factors within General Dental Services.
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Drop in child registrations
For example, findings include:
- The number of female dentists exceeds males. Females currently make up 59% of the workforce. The majority of new dentists are female, with 71% of dentists aged under 35 being female. The reverse is true in the older age groups, with 63% of dentists aged 50 and above being male
- Sixty seven per cent of the population is registered with a health service dentist including 72% of children. The overall registration rate has increased by 3% since March 2020. But the proportion of children registered has fallen by the same percentage points.
Similarly, the number of children receiving dental treatment is down by 37% when compared to the pre-pandemic activity levels.
However, almost 76,000 children received dental treatment in excess of the basic treatments – an increase of 47% on last year.
‘Crisis of confidence’
Last month, the British Dental Association (BDA) wrote to the chief dental officer, Caroline Lappin, to call for contract changes.
In the letter, they cited rising costs, a ‘crisis of confidence’, timescales and budgets as some of the contributing factors.
‘It is clear that the current GDS contractual arrangements are not working for practitioners, and have not been for some time. There is an imperative to expedite work on a new GDS contract,’ it read.
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