Salaried dentists’ job security fears
Uncertain future of PDS has left people worried despite assurances that there won’t be redundancies
Salaried dentists in Scotland are living in a state of fear as the Public Dental Service (PDS) is restructured around them, according to the new chair of the BDA’s Scottish Salaried Dentists Committee.
Graham Smith, from Portree on the Isle of Skye, believes that although the Scottish Government and the Chief Dental Officer have given them assurances that there will be no redundancies, the current uncertain future of the PDS means that people are still worried.
Graham, who has spent nearly 20 years in the PDS, said: “People are fearful for the security of their jobs. They are fearful that their jobs may be changed or their terms or place of employment may be changed without feeling in control of it.”
The salaried dental service in Scotland is being restructured as access throughout the nation improves. The government has asked health boards to reduce the size of the salaried dental workforce. NHS Highland has convened the Primary Dental Care Strategy Review Group and NHS Dumfries and Galloway is reportedly in negotiations to transfer salaried dentists over to the GDS.
Graham said he was worried that the service could be weakened at a time when it may be needed most.
He said: “At the BDA and in the PDS, we realise that there is going to be change and it is happening, whether we like it or not.
“The PDS does some really good work and there is some really good research that shows it reduces inequalities. The kind of people we treat in the PDS are usually lower on the socio-economic scale and we do help reduce health inequalities.
“With regards to delivering things like Childsmile, the PDS has been central in delivering that and making that a success as well.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government Public Sector Pay Policy for 2015-16 maintained the guarantee of no compulsory redundancies. NHS health boards are currently considering the structure of NHS dental services between independent high street dentists providing NHS services and the Public Dental Service. This is about the balance of provision between alternative models of delivering NHS dental care, and the best way for patients to access it.”