‘Pay cut’ for Scottish dentists

16 March, 2015 / infocus

The recent Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) amounts to nothing more than another pay cut according to the British Dental Association (BDA).

The DDRB has recommended a 1.6 per cent pay award for Scottish GDPs for 2015/16. In England, the Review Body produced a 1.34 per cent uplift for GDPs.

Dr Robert Donald (left), chair of the BDA’s Scottish Dental Practice Committee said: “The 1.6 per cent award is extremely disappointing and will do nothing to address the low morale among Scotland’s GDPs.

“From 2009 to 2013 there has been a massive drop in taxable income for Scottish GDPs – according to the government’s own figures. This equates to a pay cut of over £16,000. It would take a pay rise of 23.5 per cent just to bring GDP earnings back to 2009 levels.

“This isn’t pay restraint. This is a pay cut.”

South of the border, the BDA highlighted that the DDRB opted to leave the question of dental expenses for GDPs to negotiation. Rather than negotiating, the association said, the Department of Health, has simply applied a Retail Price Index (RPIx) uplift to the review board’s formula, producing a 1.34 per cent uplift for GDPs in England.

John Milne, chair of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee said that the report has yet again failed to grasp the 25 per cent decline in real incomes since 2006, and has called for action on establishing a new basis for calculating dental expenses.

He said: “We aren’t surprised by the DDRB’s conclusions, but we unhappy about their approach.

“The DDRB has backed a low uplift and placed dental expenses on the too difficult list. So now we have the unedifying sight of the government stepping in to provide a quick fix as a substitute for meaningful negotiation.

“What we need is a fit and proper mechanism for establishing an uplift for expenses, not last minute improvisation. The disproportionate rise in expenses facing practitioners cannot continue to go unrecognised. It needs proper consideration.

“The current approach does nothing to arrest or even recognise the long term fall in practitioner incomes, and simply adds ambiguity to an already unsustainable position on pay. Dentists are realists. We are living in an era of pay restraint, but restraint should not mean pay cuts.”

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