What happens to the payments if I decide not to return to work?

When you originally apply for payment you must declare that you intend that your name remains on the dental list of the HB and that you will return to NHS practice within 12 months of the birth of your baby. You must agree to repay any maternity payments made if you do not return. If, however, you are unable to return due to illness or other circumstances which the HB considers reasonable, it has the discretion to waive repayment provided that you eventually return to dental practice to provide General Dental Services for at least one month. In exceptional circumstances where you are unable to return to work, the HB has the power to waive repayments completely.

There is no definition of return to practice. In theory a dentist could provide treatment to one NHS patient within one year of the birth or adoption and then give three months’ notice to her HB and not be required to pay back any money. We do not know of a case where this has been tested however.