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DoH confirms move on trainee pay scales

The Department of Health (DoH) has confirmed that Dental Core Trainees (DCTs) will no longer be paid at Foundation Year 2, but will be placed on higher StR pay scales.

This decision follows years of lobbying by BDA/BMA to highlight the inequitable and unjustified stance that has been applied in Northern Ireland towards trainee pay scales. This has increasingly had a direct and significant impact on the ability to recruit to trainee posts in Northern Ireland, and in retaining DCTs. It has also been a factor in the growing pay differential that exists between trainees in NI and their counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales.

Following a review, DoH has written to Northern Ireland Medical and Dental Training Agency advising that, 'the incoming cohort of trainees at DCT1, DCT2 or DCT3 should be placed on the appropriate pay point of the StR pay scales. For postgraduate dentists further pursuing specialty training, their previous service in DCT should be recognised in terms of starting pay on the StR scale.'

A commitment was made by Permanent Secretary Peter May last August to ask the CDO and Post-graduate Dental Dean to undertake an evaluation of competencies, in response to a joint BDA/BMA approach on this issue.

Darren Johnston, Chair of BDA NI Hospital Dental Services Forum:

“Although long overdue, this is great news for Northern Ireland’s DCTs. The BDA Hospital Dental Services Forum has worked closely with BMA colleagues to champion this issue and it is very pleasing to see that this wrong has finally been righted”.

Nicola Holland, Dental Trainee Representative on BMA NI Junior Doctors Committee/NI HDS Forum & CCHDS:

“This is a significant positive development for NI dental core and specialty trainees which is long awaited and will be very well received among my colleagues. Thanks to the BMA/BDA for their work to highlight this discrepancy. We’d also like to thank the CDO and Postgraduate Dental Dean, and Workforce Policy Directorate officials for taking action to correct our pay points, which will likely have a lasting beneficial impact on provision of hospital dental services in Northern Ireland.

“Work is still required to address the contractual issues of pay erosion and pay protection, however correction of the pay points is a significant step which is greatly welcomed and appreciated”.