Dentists’ pay falling but costs rising
Dentists in England and Wales are earning less and paying more in essential costs and expenses than three years ago, according to figures published by the NHS Information Centre today.
The report, Dental Earnings and Expenses, provides information on the self-employed earnings and expenses of primary care dentists who carried out some NHS work in England or Wales in 2010/11.
The findings relate to both full-time and part-time dentists with varying levels of self-employment earnings from NHS and private dental work.
They reveal that the average taxable income for dentists was £77,900 in 2010/11, 8.2% lower than the previous year’s average of £84,900.
Average expenses from NHS and private dentistry, however, increased from 242,900 in 2009/10 to £247,100 in 2010/11.
The British Dental Association (BDA) is warning that this is the second fall in income in as many years, and that against a backdrop of rising costs in providing premises, equipment, staff and materials, could have a negative impact on patient care.
The organisation says dentists have experienced a pay cut of 13% over the past two years while practice expenses have increased by 5% over the same period.
Dr John Milne, chair of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee, said: “We have been telling the Department of Health for some time that the dental profession is suffering a pay cut rather than a pay freeze, which could jeopardise the resources high street dentists need to provide the best quality care to patients.
“Dentists in England and Wales are working hard to deliver the quality of care expected by patients and the profession, but are contending with greater bureaucracy and escalating costs against a backdrop of efficiency savings in the NHS.”