Recently, we reported that the Central Committee for Hospital Dental Services (CCHDS) had successfully campaigned for nodal point 5 on the specialty training pay scale to apply from ST4/ST5 for dental training pathways. This addressed many years of inequity between dental and medical trainees. Although this important change was announced we made it clear to NHS England (who are responsible for providing the funding) we had very significant concerns that they were not able to announce the appropriate and reasonable levels of backdating of the Nodal Point 5 changes for dental trainees.
NHS Employers have now informed us of an agreement that nodal point 5 will apply from ST4/ST5 for dental training pathways, as equivalent to ST6/ST7 for medical pathways from 1 April 2022 rather than 1 April 2023 as previously indicated. This is a further significant achievement, resulting in a direct financial benefit for hospital dental trainees in England worth approximately £14,000 over 2 years (approximately £7,000 per annum).
The 5th 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 working at grade ST6 or higher. Nodal Point 5 has been factored into Health Education England budgets (now part of NHS England) and the additional funding will be passed to local teams with current plans for arrears to be in September 2023 salaries.
Although some progress has been made on this issue, the position of CCHDS remains that a significant error, dating back to 2020 when the 5th nodal point was introduced into the Junior Doctor contract, has been accepted by the employer side and therefore the backdating should apply right back to its inception. The trainees in England affected fully deserve the backdating and this will remain a key priority for CCHDS to ensure the inequity that existed is fully addressed.