Alliance Party Councillor, Lynn Frazer said: “Currently very few dentists are taking any more NHS patients, therefore more must be provided to cater for the needs of local people.
“The Northern Health Board must do all in their power to bring more dentists into the area so that local people can quickly receive the treatment they need.
“I spoke with an official from the Board and they said that in Antrim, Randalstown and Ballymena most dentists who treat NHS patients are fully subscribed and cannot take on any more. They also said that there has been a reduction of about 3% in the number of NHS patients being treated in those areas.
“They stated that there has been an increase in the number of dentists who have decided to practice privately. This change has had an impact upon NHS patients.
“The Northern Health Board told me that they have reached the stage where they are considering alternative ways of addressing the issue, which may include bringing in a salaried dentist to work from Board property or providing increased funding for NHS dentistry. They realize themselves that there is a problem which will get worse if nothing is done.
Lynn Frazer concluded: “The Board expressed the hope that the new contracts for dentists, which are due to be introduced in Northern Ireland next year and are currently under negotiation, will help alleviate this problem.”