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How long must I have been in the NHS practice before I can claim payment?

You must have been on a dental list for a total of two years (or one year plus a vocational training year) by the fifteenth week before the baby is due. This does not need to be continuous: you can have had breaks. You must also have been continuously on a main dental list (although not necessarily the same one) for at least 26 weeks prior to the fifteenth week before the baby is due. It is vital that a break is not taken during this period. Finally, your gross earnings for the “test period” must be at least equivalent to the minimum figures set out in Table 2, or at least 90 per cent of your earnings from the NHS must be attributable to gross earnings. This helps to ensure that dentists, who are wholly committed to the GDS but work part-time, are not disadvantaged. The “test period” refers to the year leading up to the beginning of the ninth month before the expected date of confinement. Assistants are not entitled to maternity, paternity or adoption payments.

For example, if your baby is due on 1st December 2014 the test period would be 1st March 2013 to 1st March 2014. This has been designed to ensure that, when the calculations are made, you are not disadvantaged by any decline in earnings during the early weeks of the pregnancy. During your period of absence you must remain on an NHS dental list and not provide General Dental Services. You may provide treatment under private contract however.