Workforce Review for Dental Services in Northern Ireland – 2018

Date published: 04 July 2023

In 2015, the Department of Health commissioned Skills for Health (part of the Workforce Development Trust) to carry out a workforce review of dental services within Northern Ireland.  The purpose of this review was to inform the commissioning of education and training numbers of dentists and support informed decision making on future workforce requirements, workforce development and care pathways.


A Steering Group was established to oversee this work with representation from the Department, the former Health and Social Care Board (now the Strategic Planning and Performance Group – SPPG), dental education and training providers and the British Dental Association.  The methodology followed the Regional HSC Workforce Planning Framework.

The Steering Group received Skills for Health’s Workforce Review for Dental Services in Northern Ireland in August 2018.  They welcomed its detailed analysis of many topical issues.  They also identified three specific areas for further discussion and future planning:

  • specialist areas including community dental services, oral surgery, orthodontics and non-clinical roles of dental public health and dental advisers.
  • dental care professional education, training and retention in the workplace.
  • data enhancement and collection of up-to-date dental workforce data.

Focus groups with dental professionals and other stakeholders on these issues, cancelled due to COVID-19 in April 2020, will take place on 18 September 2023.


The Chief Dental Officer will lead on the ultimate implementation of finalised recommendations arising from this workforce review process, most importantly, the outcome of the focus groups and its ongoing development as a responsive live workforce plan.

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