The Statement of Financial Entitlement requires the uplifts to be applied from 1 April each year, but these have not been paid on time since 2015/16. Last year the uplift was not applied, and backdated payments were not paid until January, nine months after it was due.
Now, following legal advice, we understand that contract holders are due interest on late payments under the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998, for each of the years in which payments have been delayed. We are willing to support members in bringing forward claims for this interest.
Late payment of these uplifts causes real problems for dental providers, hindering cashflow and business planning, and causing problems for payments to associates who have left a practice before the annual uplift has been determined and applied.
We estimate that contractors are owed over £12 million in interest for late payments in the last financial year and the late payments for the year to date would amount to more than £7 million.
"Late uplifts undermine NHS practices," says General Dental Practice Committee Chair Shawn Charlwood. "NHS England need to do the right thing. These unacceptable delays mean payments must come with interest."
News follows confirmation of a below-inflation 6% pay uplift from the UK Government. There is still no confirmation on increases for practice expenses, and with the cost of delivering NHS care skyrocketing we're clear uplifts at this level will only fuel the exodus from the NHS.