Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee elects Ciara Gallagher as chair

24 January 2022
1 min read
Published:

The Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee (NI DPC) has elected Ciara Gallagher as chair at its first meeting for the new triennium 2022-2025. Philip McLorinan and Helen Brogan were elected vice chairs.

“The next three years will be crucial for the survival of health service dentistry in Northern Ireland,” said Ciara. “NI DPC has both challenges and opportunities ahead, as we embark on negotiations for a new health service contract for general dental services for our population.

“The last few years have been particularly difficult for dentists and dentistry in Northern Ireland, navigating the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, whilst also managing the ongoing, day-to-day clinical and practical elements of running a dental practice.

“I am conscious that I take up the reins from a worthy predecessor in Richard Graham, who steered the Committee through the worst of covid.

“With the full force and support of the Committee behind me, I am looking forward to leading health service dentistry into a new era, negotiating a new contract with the Department of Health, ensuring that we have a financially viable, affordable, secure, sustainable and safe future for health service dentistry in Northern Ireland.”

Ciara brings over 25 years’ experience to the role of NI DPC chair. She qualified as a dentist from the University of Birmingham in 1996, working in Nottingham and Birmingham for two years before coming home to Northern Ireland.

She is now the sole owner of a seven-surgery dental practice in Downpatrick, where family NHS dentistry and high quality private implant and cosmetic dentistry sit comfortably side by side. Having worked in NHS dentistry for more than two decades, Ciara has felt first-hand the rising pressures of providing quality NHS care under an increasingly pinched budget.

She is a passionate believer that everyone should have access to quality dental care regardless of ability to pay. As chair, Ciara welcomes the opportunity for NI DPC to work closely and collaboratively with the Department of Health to formulate a new contract which works for patients, dentists and the government.

The NI DPC is recognised by government as having the status and authority to negotiate on behalf of the dental profession on matters of terms and conditions of service and remuneration in the general dental services.

It negotiates on pay, contracts and terms and conditions with the Department of Health and works with regulators and health and social care bodies on behalf of all general dental practitioners in Northern Ireland.