Since 2020, the BDA and BMA have been campaigning for hospital dental trainees at levels ST4 – ST5 to be granted access to the fifth nodal point on the NHS 2016 Junior Doctors and Dentists pay scale.
The fifth nodal point was introduced as an amendment to the 2016 Junior Doctors and Dentists contract following contract review negotiations between NHS Employers, the British Medical Association and Department of Health and Social Care in 2018. It was introduced for all trainees who were working at grade ST6 or higher.
In 2020, the BDA highlighted that dental trainees at the end of their specialty training were being unfairly prevented from accessing this fifth nodal point on the pay scale, despite them being highly skilled clinicians with the equivalent competency and experience to that of their ST6 and ST7 medical counterparts.
Over the last two years, the BDA’s Committee for Hospital Dental Services and the BMA’s Junior Doctors Committee have continued to push for a change in the application of nodal point five to resolve this issue. Through sustained engagement with NHS Employers in various Joint Negotiating Committee forums, this change has now been secured.
The impact on dental trainees has been recognised as an oversight by all parties involved in the 2018 pay discussions and has been accepted as result of a difference in nomenclature for dental specialty training posts which span ST1 to ST5.
To resolve the unintended consequence of the pay inequity between medical and dental trainees, nodal point 5 will apply from ST4/ST5 for dental training pathways, as equivalent to ST6/ST7 for medical pathways. Nodal Point 5 has been factored into Health Education England budgets and additional funding will be passed to local teams. ESR is implementing the payment with backdating to 1 April 2023 and this is expected to go into salaries in July along with the arrears.