Every NHS dentist in Britain has felt the impact of the public sector pay cap. Now, after seven years we could be seeing some progress.
Ahead of the Queen’s Speech, together with representatives of over a million NHS staff, we told the Prime Minister it was time for a change in direction. Our calls went unheeded, but we are keeping up the pressure.
And this week we’ve joined again with our colleagues to express our outrage over this impasse on pay. The 1% ceiling on pay uplifts has represented more than pay restraint, it’s meant a pay cut for all our members. It’s hit every healthcare profession.
But for dentists it has amounted to a 35% fall in real terms income over the last decade.
It’s been the same story for practice owners, and associates, for dentists in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
These pay cuts have consequences, on recruitment, on retention and on our ability to invest. Pay restraints are causing long-lasting damage to our service, our patients and our workforce. Now the 2% uplift offered to fire fighters, with potential for a 3% rise next year, offers some hope that change is coming.
We are getting mixed messages. Some Ministers have suggested the policy is now under discussion. Cabinet Ministers appear to be breaking ranks. And NHS Confederation Chair, and former Health Secretary, Stephen Dorrell told the BBC that our pay review body should not be “artificially constrained”.
We couldn’t agree more.
For now dentists are still waiting. The Department of Health have pledged to consult on implementation of the independent Doctors and Dentists Review Body’s (DDRB) recommendation of a 1% uplift for 2017/18. Our members need to see existing recommendations honoured.
Moving on we will continue to stand with our colleagues from across the NHS to ensure our pay review bodies have the freedom to make choices that do right by front line staff and their patients.
Chair, General Dental Practice Committee
The official representative body for GDPs
The BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee
represents all general dental practitioners in the UK and aims to reflect the mixed economy of dental practice. It represents the interests, and acts on behalf of, dentists working in general practice. It is also recognised by the Government as representing NHS general dental practitioners in negotiations and consultations.