It's official. Dentists in England will get a 1.68 per cent uplift in their December pay run which should be seen in early January 2019.
It will be small consolation for practitioners who have been waiting four months since the Government made their announcement on what they could expect.
It means we finally know the extent of the uplift on contract values for 2018/19 - a mere eight months since the award should have been in place.
Contractors will see a 1.68 per cent uplift backdated to April 2018 but also because 1.68 per cent is not the full 2 per cent uplift promised in pay, an additional 0.65 per cent award will be made on 01 April 2019 to realise the full 2 per cent promised back in July.
This does not affect the nature of any future award being made from April 2019 but it does mean that any subsequent awards are based on a 2 per cent 2018 award.
Dentists are usually bitterly resigned to the late application of the contract uplifts coming maybe a month or two after the start date of 1 April each year, in addition to the paltry amount being offered.
But this year's delays represent a new low.
On 15 November, the Statement of Financial Entitlements were finally signed to allow contract uplifts to be paid in January and contractors will not see any increases in their uplift until 2nd January 2019.
Pushing the uplift back to a January 2019 receipt date cannot be justified given the challenges many practices are facing to simply maintain viability.
For reasons of affordability, the recommended uplift was announced as a staged award back in July. We know the profession has suffered under austerity and pay restraint, and even though pay ceilings have been lifted we are still adversely affected.
While the Government is tied up by Brexit negotiations and political wrangling, our hard working NHS dental colleagues are seeing ever eroding income and decline in earnings and a once stable profession is struggling to stay afloat and maintain the high quality care our patients deserve.
By now, in late November, we have usually submitted the evidence for the next year of pay awards and has a date in the diary to give oral evidence. Instead we are only now starting on the DDRB process.
The delays to the process in England seem to be set now on a delayed course meaning late award implementation.
Combined with the exit of the UK from the EU in March 2019, any process is unlikely to be high on the government agenda for April 2019 implementation.
The anger and frustration across the profession is palpable. These delays have been unacceptable, the failure to implement the award in full in 2018 is inexcusable.
Continued failure to recognise this profession is at the very limits of its patience will leave NHS services in a perilous position.
Eddie Crouch, Vice Chair
Principal Executive Committee
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