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Dentists’ pay: What we do for you

Each year we use your evidence to fight for fairer pay for associates, practice owners, community dentists (PDS in Scotland), civilian dental practitioners and we call for pay parity for dental clinical academics.

We work across England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and provide evidence to the Governments on your behalf.

Update on pay uplifts 2021/2022?

In January 2021 we submitted our evidence for 2021/22 and we called on all four Governments to provide for an uplift of 5% to ensure the future sustainability of service. It will not address the real terms pay cut over the last decade which has put the service in the position of fragility at the time it needs to be at its strongest, but it would send a message of value to those working in the system.

2020 has demonstrated a united dental profession, one which has pulled together in the face of the adversity across all branches of practice. This has been a challenging year across the health service and the BDA is proud of the efforts of the dental profession since March 2020. Many individuals and teams have gone to extraordinary lengths to support the COVID effort.

We argued forcefully this year that NHS and Health Service dentistry needs to be placed on a sustainable footing, if it is to continue. We need an NHS dental service that is an attractive proposition for a young dentist to aspire to and from which they can make a living.

This year we gave specific evidence focused on: 
General Dental Practice
Community Dental Services (including PDS in Scotland)
Clinical Academic Staff
Civilian Dental Practitioners

What happened for the 2020/21 pay uplifts?

For England, the Department announced a 2.5% uplift on contracts backdated to April 2020. This will apply to all GDS contracts and PDS agreements. The Department and HM Treasury will only calculate the formulae in England using CPI not RPI.


Dentists on national pay scales (hospital dentists and community dentists including those on matched NHS terms and conditions) should have received a 2.8%  increase on salary scales also backdated to April 2020 unless they are subject to multi-year pay deals negotiated outside of the DDRB process.

In Northern Ireland a pay uplift of 2.8% uplift for CDS and salaried dentists for 2020/21 to be backdated to April 2020 was announced in January 2021. A formal pay offer for GDS was issued on 20 January, which when applying RPI equates to a 2.58% uplift of SDR IoS and allowances. We are still waiting for the uplift to be applied.

In Scotland the Statement of Dental Remuneration had a gross uplift on fees of 2.8%. However, this was not applied to practice allowances (which make up around 16 per cent of practice income), therefore the overall increase was less than 2.8 per cent.


In Wales there was an uplift  of 2.3% to gross contract values calculated using RPI backdated to April 2020.


How is dentists' pay decided?

The independent body responsible for making recommendations on pay is called the Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists' Remuneration (known as DDRB). Each year, they are asked by the Government(s) to make a recommendation for setting levels of pay, based on evidence of recruitment/retention, morale and motivation in the profession. 

To formally open the next round of evidence submissions, the Secretary of State for Health issues a letter to the DDRB, formally opening the process and outlining their remit for England, and the other UK Governments' do the same. These remit letters advise the DDRB of the areas it wishes them to make a recommendation on, and any special areas of consideration (i.e. how much budget is available).

The DDRB then ask all the groups and organisations affected by the process to submit evidence, usually in September. The DDRB then takes oral evidence sessions from the groups and organisations, usually two months after written submissions are received.

Each year, we gather a huge amount of evidence from all areas of dentistry. This includes surveying associates and practice owners, community dentists and other groups, as well as using evidence from Freedom of Information Act requests and official sources of data, to help make the case for dentistry.

Current and previous recommendations and evidence: Review Body on Doctors' and Dentists'.


Working for you

Read our blogs to find out what we are doing in each of the four UK countries to fight for fairer pay for dentists.

If you'd like to be kept informed about developments on this issue, make sure your details are up-to-date on MyBDA and tick the box under 'contact preferences' to get latest news updates.


We campaign on a range of issues affecting dentists and dentistry today. We make sure that dentists' views are represented when it comes to health policy being developed by government and other key organisations: join us.