Scots dentists remain lowest paid

Latest earnings and expenses report makes painful reading for Scottish profession

29 September, 2016 / infocus

The British Dental Association (BDA) has described the latest earnings and expenses report across the UK as a “historic collapse” with Scottish GDPs’ expenses again increasing more than their gross earnings.

David McColl, vice chair of the Scottish Dental Practice Committee, said: “The Scottish Government has ensured we remain the lowest paid dental practitioners in the whole of the UK. Beset on all sides by red tape, under investment and a crisis of morale, something has to give. Ministers need to know there are no further efficiencies that can be extracted from the service without compromising patient care.”

Scots GDPs’ average taxable earnings fell to £67,000 in 2014/15, compared with £68,000 in 2013/2014. In England and Wales, the figure was £70,500. Principal dentists’ expenses to earnings ratio stood at 70.4 per cent in 20014/2015, compared with 70.2 per cent the previous year and 65.5 per cent in 2008/2009. For associate dentists it is 35.1 per cent, up from 33.8 per cent in 2013/2014 and 33.2 per cent in 2008/2009. For all self-employed GDS dentists, the expenses to earnings ration fell slightly to 55.5 per cent, from 55.8 per cent the previous year.

For principal dentists in 2014/2015, the average taxable income from NHS and private work was £102,900, compared with £98,400 the previous year, a 4.7 per cent increase. However, for associate dentists, the average income was £55,000, down 2.2 per cent from 2013/2014 (£56,200).

The average gross earnings for principals stood at £347,200 (up from £330,300) with average expenses standing at £244,300, up from £231,900 12 months previously. For associates, average earning from NHS and private dentistry were down slightly to £84,700, compared with £84,900 in 2013/2014, whereas average total expenses rose from £28,700 to £29,700 in 2014/2015.

Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, the BDA’s chair of General Dental Practice said: “This 35 per cent fall in NHS dentists’ real incomes over the last decade is without parallel in the public sector.

“Governments across the UK are squeezing NHS dentistry until the pips squeak. Every penny of investment this service receives comes from dentists’ own pockets, and this collapse in real incomes has a real impact on our ability to deliver the improvements in facilities, equipment, and training our patients deserve.

“These savage cuts have long ceased to be a question of ‘pay restraint’ or ‘efficiency savings’. A wilful singling out of an entire sector of dedicated health professionals is irresponsible, unsustainable, and carries consequences for millions of NHS patients.”

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