The British Dental Association has warned the derisory pay uplifts offered to dentists - 4.5% - will only accelerate the workforce crisis facing NHS dentistry across the UK.
Dentists have seen their real incomes collapse by nearly 40% since the financial crash, with analysis of data from across the public sector and health professionals indicating the fall has no parallel in the UK public sector.
Official data for 2020/21 is yet to be published, but dental accountants NASDAL have indicated a further fall in earnings – in cash terms – of over 10% for typical dentists.
Westminster's Health and Social Care Committee was warned in May that NHS dentistry faced a 'slow death', with endemic recruitment and retention problems, and thousands of dentists having left the service since lockdown. While typical levels of pay are only negligibly higher in the private sector, dentists are afforded greater time with patients, without the pressures of working to 'tick boxes and targets' model of the discredited NHS contract.
The BDA has said it now intends to canvass its membership to assess the appetite for a full range of action in response.
Peter Crooks, Deputy Chair of the BDA said:
"For a decade we've seen euphemisms of 'pay restraint' and 'efficiency savings' amount to the deepest pay cuts in the public sector.
"This derisory offer will only serve to give dentists more reasons to reconsider their future in the NHS, and millions of patients will pay the price."