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Dental matters update

An update on pay, statistics and contract proposals relating to dental matters.

Dentists' pay

The coalition government has told the chairman of the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body (DDRB) that it will no longer play a role in determining the remuneration of general dental practitioners (GDPs) for the financial years 2011/12 and 2012/13.

Instead, it is understood that the Government will make decisions on any gross uplift of dentists' pay based on assumed efficiencies and evidence of changes in expenses. It is likely, therefore, that the Government will now need to negotiate directly with the BDA on any movement in contract values to reflect increases in expenses.

Dental statistics - beware!

The NHS Information Centre produces an annual report entitled Dental Earnings and Expenses - England and Wales. The most recent report based on tax return income up to 2008/9 has now been released.

The NHS Information Centre also issues an accompanying summary, and as a result of this many newspapers have reported that 'dentists earn on average over £89,000'. Unfortunately, this figure is based on the average of principals and associates, and includes people who work part-time. While it is accepted that statistics can always be made to show what the user wants them to show, this average still appears extremely simplistic.

The full report can be accessed at www.ic.nhs.uk.

New dental contract proposals

In July, the coalition government published an NHS paper entitled Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS, which proposes the introduction of a new dental contract following a period of consultation and piloting.

Following a meeting with Newcastle University's Professor Jimmy Steele, who led an independent review of NHS dentistry last year, it has been agreed that Professor Steele should assist in developing the new pilot proposals going forward.

Proposals relating to the new contract will be published in December.

Nick Ledingham, Morris & Co, specialist dental accountants, Healthcare Group News - October 2010