The British Dental Association has called on the Scottish Government to confirm that the recently announced 3% pay award for dentists will be applied to practitioners' overall remuneration package to avoid front line staff potentially being left out of pocket and practices struggling to invest to improve care.
Historically in Scotland the recommended uplift has not applied to all dentists' allowances and payments, meaning the overall awards often fall short of the pay review body's recommendations. This shortfall has been confirmed in the latest earning and expenses data released by the NHS.
Last year the Scottish Government did not apply the recommended 2.8% uplift to practice allowances - which make up around 16% of practice income - leaving an overall increase of less than the review body's recommendations. The BDA estimates that the net award for that year was around 2.3%.
While one-off support to fund improvements in ventilation has been offered by the Scottish Government, NHS dentists do not routinely receive capital investment. These earnings serve to fund all improvements in equipment, training, and facilities for NHS practices.
Scottish Government officials have stated they will provide details of how the package will operate in due course. The BDA is calling for the 3% uplift to be applied to the full remuneration package.
David McColl, Chair of the British Dental Association's Scottish Dental Practice Committee said:
"The Scottish Government's announcement has left key questions unanswered.
"This uplift will do little to correct a decade of austerity, and not all of this increase may actually reach dentists, who rely on their earnings to invest in their practices.
"In the recent election, Ministers put dentistry front and centre in their pitch for government. If they are going to deliver on their promises they shouldn't be short-changing front line practitioners."