When England and Wales introduced the new controversial services contract for NHS dentists last year, Northern Ireland was not included. Now, the Minister for Health, Michael McGimpsey has said he wishes to introduce a bespoke contract for dental services in Northern Ireland.
The England and Wales contract will not be extended to Northern Ireland.
A new bespoke dental system would be piloted in the province in 2008. To produce a locally developed solution, the government is negotiating with the British Dental Association, and unlike in England and Wales, the government may actually take heed of their comments.
In Northern Ireland there is now a drift towards private practice by people needing dental services, and to treatment overseas in Hungary.
Northern Ireland wants to ensure that local dentists can provide treatment for local people as part of the Health and Social Care system and not force people into private care plans.