Dentists speak out over pay

Practices ‘out of pocket’ because pay rise does not cover higher costs

Thursday 29th August 2019

An NHS pay rise announced by health secretary Jeane Freeman earlier this week will leave dentists ‘out of pocket’, a union representing the profession has said.

On Tuesday Scottish doctors and dentists were awarded a 2.5% pay boost that will be backdated to April.

But the British Dental Association Scotland says the increase, which covers both pay and expenses, does not ‘take adequate account of the full cost of running a dental practice’.

The organisation says a 2.5% rise represents a real terms cut because the cost of wages, laboratory costs and regulation have risen by 3% over the past year.

David McColl, chair of the group’s Scottish Dental Practice Committee, said: "While we welcome the Scottish Government’s acceptance of the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration recommendation of a 2.5% pay uplift, it also has to recognise that expenses are a significant element of dentists’ costs. 

The Glasgow medical practitioner added: “Dentists have seen a 30% real-terms decrease in income in recent years, and awarding at least 3% for expenses would have helped to halt that long-term decline and ensure that NHS dentistry in Scotland remains sustainable.”

The criticism follows the British Medical Association (BMA) sounding a note of caution over the pay rise announcement.

Dr Lewis Morrison said it was “just a reasonable start and certainly not a cause for celebration.”

The BMA Scotland chair said it followed years of “unacceptable” pay awards that had been “seriously eroding morale”.