In Northern Ireland the MLA has described an “appalling lack of access” to NHS salaried dentists with only four dentistry professionals in the region on over £50,000 and available to the general public. Tommy Gallagher has criticised the results of the recruitment drive held in 2007 because today in certain areas of Northern Ireland especially the west, “the plight of patients is now desperate”.
The Department of Health issued a statement in response to this situation saying “The recruitment drive for salaried dentists in the west of Northern Ireland was not successful due to a lack of suitable applicants." Health Minister Michael McGimpsey has announced a commercial tender throughout the region and that they will be looking to recruit 38 dentists to accommodate the country’s needs where there are certain "access problems for health service dentistry".
The recruitment strategy from the Department of Health should reassure all applicants they will have adequate support for the task ahead as in some areas it is considered a crisis. Tommy Gallagher has some reservations about their strategy and perhaps including a low cost recruitment agency would surely enhance their search, as so far their recruitment campaign has not reached the appropriate candidates. He recommended “funding directed towards training must ensure our graduate dentists have places available to them to work here, where they can help alleviate a situation which is clearly at crisis levels."