Pay deal must set precedent for all NHS professionals, say dentists
The British Dental Association (BDA) has welcomed the deal struck between NHS staff unions and government and insisted it must set a precedent for dentists and other frontline health professionals.
The deal effectively marks the end of the NHS pay cap that has existed since 2010 and is a response to burgeoning pressures within the workforce, including 33,000 nurses leaving the NHS in the past year. The package does not apply to doctors or dentists who have been facing similar pressures.
Dentists leaders have said the logic must be applied to all frontline health professionals, including dentists in hospital, community and general dental practice. High street NHS dentists in England have seen real incomes fall by 35% over the last decade.
Recent survey evidence suggests over two thirds (68%) of NHS practices in England who attempted to recruit in the last year struggled to fill vacancies. The BDA has also reported that 58% of NHS dentists say they are now planning to leave the service in the next 5 years. Colleagues working with vulnerable patients in community practice have seen recruitment issues emerge in specialist posts and are reporting – for the first time ever – net dissatisfaction about pay.
BDA Chair Mick Armstrong (top) said: “We welcome recognition that taking NHS pay restraint to the nth degree is not compatible with a sustainable workforce or patient access. Colleagues are now looking for a sign that government is willing to apply that logic to all parts of the health service.
“NHS dentistry is facing similar pressures on recruitment and retention, that risk becoming endemic in the face of an historic collapse in real incomes. It’s imperative this deal sets a precedent for all frontline health professionals.”