Pay increase for dentists

The British Dental Association (BDA) has confirmed that dental contracts in England will receive a pay uplift of 2.42 per cent, effective from this month, following a recommendation from the Doctors’ and Dentists’ Pay Review Body (DDRB).

The pay agreement was reached following negotiations with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) that took place this summer.

The BDA had argued that the pay award for dentists in England should match that of Scotland and Wales, which are currently based on the retail price index (RPI) for inflation.

However, the DHSC and HM Treasury disagreed, and the amount was subsequently calculated based on the consumer price index (CPI) for inflation, which yields a lower number in comparison to the RPI. However, the DHSC agreed to backdate this pay increase to April 2019.

The uplift applies to 8,000 NHS dental contracts and will be paid to around 2,500 dental practice owners. These owners will then have the discretion to pass some or all of the award on to their associates, who are classified as self-employed, rather than employees.

This is the first above-inflation pay rise for dentists in England since 2005/06 and according to the BDA, this means that dentists have actually seen a 30 per cent decrease in real terms in recent years.

The BDA believes that the uplift should have been implemented in April and is so concerned that the body has written to DHSC to express its concerns. As a spokesperson for the BDA said, years of “wholly inadequate” uplifts have led to a decline in recruitment and retention in the profession.