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​Scotland: Concern over funding package for VDPs

10 August 2020

 

We are concerned about the funding package available to Vocational Dental Practitioners (VDPs) in Scotland and the consequences they face financially should they move to an associate position at the end of their VDP year in August 2020. The latest PSD FAQs state that in most circumstances any COVID-19 top-up payment will no longer be payable to a VDP taking on a dental list in August. Instead, there will be an equivalent VDP top-up to the VDP salary.

 

Many VDPs who are continuing to care for the same list of patients as they were whilst a VDP, will receive a reduced top-up compared to what is currently being provided for servicing that list. The majority of VDPs move on to become associates, and when accounting for a 40-50 percentage split, this reduced top-up will mean a decrease in income compared to their current VDP salary.

 

When the VDP then becomes an associate they will be a self-employed general dental practitioner (GDP) and will have taken on far greater responsibility as well as having to meet practice costs. This, at a time when GDPs are being expected see patients and offer non-aerosol generating procedures AGPs. It is concerning that VDPs who have become associates will likely have a lower income than the new VDPs joining the profession.
 
We have contacted James Boyle, Associate Dean of Vocational Training, NHS Education for Scotland who said that the NES adviser team had been working hard to support and advise those leaving training. He said that many of their trainers were also advising their VDPs and in some cases retaining their VDPs, in order to support their introduction to the workforce. It is recognised that for many this will come at a cost.

 

When the VDPs leave training, Vocational Training will cease its formal involvement with them, although trainers and advisers continue to offer support and advice as a matter of routine. Dr Boyle explained that he and the advisers and trainers are all keen that VDPs should begin a career, which is stressful at the best of times, as free as possible from additional financial stress. However, we remain concerned. We have raised these issues with the CDO and will update you on any progress made.