Professor warns of potential dental nurse redundancies
A professor has voiced concerns about dental nurse jobs being put at risk as the profession continues to be plagued by financial uncertainty.
Professor Phil Taylor, Dean of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd)’s Faculty of Dental Surgery, has warned that many dental practices may be forced to cut jobs because of the restrictions imposed as a result of the pandemic, including being able to see far fewer patients.
“Many dental nurses have been furloughed during the pandemic and with the Job Retention Scheme due to finish at the end of the month, we are in real danger of seeing these positions under threat,” said Professor Taylor.
“The tight restrictions on how many patients can be seen in a day has resulted in practices potentially needing fewer staff, and many have had to make tough decisions in order to survive financially.
“Dental nurses play a vital role in the dental profession and are an essential part of the team. It is of the utmost importance that we ensure they are supported through this period.
“For those who are returning to work, they need better support from the UK Government as well as the NHS as they adjust to new regulations, PPE and AGP procedures.”
Jacqui Elsden, President of the British Association of Dental Nurses (BADN), the UK’s professional association for dental nurses, said: “Many dental nurses in NHS and mixed practices have not been paid their full, if any, salaries since March, despite the employing practices having received their NHS funding.
“Even when they are paid, dental nurses working in NHS practices are not regarded by the NHS as NHS employees – and are therefore denied access to NHS pensions and other benefits. Nor are they paid according to NHS scales, but are often only paid minimum wage, despite the fact that they have to pay the GDC ARF, as well as indemnity and CPD costs.
“This is why BADN has launched a campaign for recognition of dental nurses, their contribution to oral healthcare and their vital role in the dental team. We encourage all dental nurses, and other members of the dental team, to lobby their MPs – a template letter is available on the BADN website.
“BADN membership fees have been lowered to allow dental nurses access to the advice and support BADN offers, as well as a wide range of money saving options through our Rewards scheme – even more necessary during these difficult times.”
The surgical college has previously warned that the current restrictions on dental practices could lead to the collapse of NHS dentistry in Scotland with practices forced to become private-only in order to survive the pandemic.