Fears for NHS dentistry as incomes collapse
Concerns have been expressed about the long-term sustainability of NHS dentistry as new data1 shows NHS dentists have experienced a significant pay squeeze over the last decade.
What has been described as an unprecedented drop has seen real incomes for practice-owning dentists fall by as much as £47,000, and their associates by more than £23,000. Meanwhile, costs facing individual practitioners for regulatory compliance and registration have gone up by 1,000 per cent in the same period2.
The Scottish Government’s recent below-inflation pay award of 2 per cent to general dental practitioners does little to ease the pressures.
Other official data has revealed that morale and motivation among NHS dentists is now at an all-time low (Read more).
David McColl, Chair of the British Dental Association’s Scottish Dental Practice Committee, is one of those worried about the trends. He said: “In July, we called on the Scottish Government to provide sufficient funding to make the aspirations in its Oral Health Improvement Plan (OHIP) – including prevention and meeting the needs of older people – a reality.
“We have since received assurance from the Government that the OHIP proposals will be adequately resourced, but we need guarantees that funding will keep pace with demand.
“The OHIP states that dental practices will have the opportunity to plan for changes while maintaining their financial sustainability.
“The Scottish Government also needs to ensure that dentists are fairly paid for their work, including a realistic recognition of their increased expenses.
“Continued underfunding would send a signal, both by those already working on the coal face, and among those who could make up its next generation, that dentistry is no longer seen as a valued profession.”