Tom Bysouth has made the case for fairer uplifts for dentists' pay in Wales and called for immediate action on the recruitment and retention crisis.
The BDA delegation to DDRB (details below). Photo (c) BDA
On Monday 24th February, I spent the day in London giving oral evidence to the Doctors and Dentist pay Review Body (DDRB) on behalf of Welsh dentists. I joined colleagues from Scotland, Northern Ireland and England to make the case for an above-inflation pay uplift for NHS dentists.
Campaigning for dentists and dentistry
When I pressed the case for dentists in Wales, I argued that dental practices need hard evidence of a sustainable business case before committing their resources further. Contract reform will take time. That's why, I advised the DDRB that we cannot simply wait to see what contract reform may bring.
Recruitment and retention problems continue in Wales. We've seen evidence of practice closures in Bangor and Menai Bridge. NHS contracts have also been returned in Newcastle Emlyn and CDS clinics are closing in Maesteg. Clawback and handback in Wales also continues to rise, now standing at around £7.5million per year, an increase of 21%.
The uplift, recommended by the DDRB, can make a difference now.
NHS dentistry in Wales is at crisis point
In the last 10 years, dentist have seen considerable pay erosion. Another below-inflation or inflation-only uplift will not help. NHS dentistry needs to be made attractive to dentists. A clear change is needed to address the challenges we face.
The good will and hard work of our dental practice teams can only go so far. I hope that nobody; government, commissioners, dentists or patients, would want to see any more contracts being returned because practices are simply unable to recruit a dentist.
We must act now to stop the closure of practices
Government tells us austerity is over. So now is the time for an inflation-busting DDRB recommendation to put NHS dentistry back in the right direction.
We are told by government that the numbers of dentists continue to rise. But this headcount is misleading. Many of our colleagues don't work full time. Fewer still work full time on NHS work. We must act now to stop the close of further NHS practices.
Continual delays to the uplift process also impact practices and their stability. That's why, we asked the DDRB to discount all late evidence submission and to push for uplifts to be applied in a timely fashion.
Our message is clear. We've asked the DDRB to send a clear and tough message to UK governments on your behalf, and we await their response.
Chair, Welsh General Dental Practice Committee
Pictured above, from left to right: David McColl, Chair Scottish Dental Practice Committee, Richard Graham, Chair Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee, Eddie Crouch, Vice-Chair BDA Board, Tom Bysouth, Chair, Welsh Dental Practice Committee, Charlotte Waite, Chair, England Community Dental Services Committee, Dave Cottam, Chair, General Dental Practice Committee.
BDA Wales: working for youBDA Wales
campaigns for the interests of all dentists working in Wales. With our elected committee members, we negotiate on behalf of the profession on terms and conditions, pay and contracts: join us.