Page last updated at 15:53 GMT, Wednesday, 2 May 2012 16:53 UK

Health Committee

Dentists' representatives told MLAs that proposed funding cuts would have "catastrophic" results for practitioners, on 2 May 2012.

Dr Peter Crooks of the British Dental Association told members of the health committee that proposed reductions in funding for NHS dentistry would effectively cut spending for patients by 9% in a single year.

"We need your help to oppose these cuts," he added.

Dr Crooks said the numbers of people registered for NHS dental treatment had increased in recent years.

"We now have more people with more teeth than ever before," he said.

Health committee deputy chair Jim Wells commented that many dentists were not interested in the NHS when the Northern Ireland economy was booming.

He questioned the need for the NHS to pay for cosmetic veneers, bridges and cleaning.

"Some dentists were doing very well out of very, very large payments," Mr Wells concluded.

The committee then took evidence from health department officials on the proposed changes to funding.

Eugene Rooney said the department needed to review all activity in order to live within its budget.

He listed a series of proposals.

The Chief Dental Officer, Donncha O'Carolan, told members, "the proposals we are making today will not impact on oral health. I'm confident of that".

The DUP's Jim Wells asked Mr O'Carolan what the effect would have been if fluoride had been added to drinking water in Northern Ireland.

He replied that money would have been saved and less complex treatment, particularly in children, would have been required if fluoride had been added to water.

Health committee membership


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