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Updates from week commencing 1 August 2022

Read all the updates that took place throughout this week.

Friday 5 August 2022


England: NHS dentists and the Healthier Futures Action Fund

NHS dentists who are interested in making greener choices for the sake of the environment can apply for the Healthier Futures Action Fund (HFAF)

The fund supports individuals and teams within NHS organisations to kick-start innovative initiatives or ideas that will improve health and patient care, reduce inequalities, and deliver good value, while supporting a more sustainable health service.

It is open for applications between 6 July and 19 August 2022 from individuals and teams within the NHS. Find out more about the Healthier Futures Action Fund and how to apply on FutureNHS (you will need to register for a FutureNHS account to access this information).



UK: The impact of high inflation on NHS Pensions

Recent high levels of inflation may have a significant impact on your pension tax charges in the tax year 2022/23.

NHS Employers have this week published an indicative Ready Reckoner tool that can help individuals get an estimate of their Pension Growth over the 22/23 tax year, and thereby the likelihood of an Annual Allowance tax charge. It is targeted at healthcare workers in England and Wales, however the calculations and information would appear to apply equally to Scotland and Northern Ireland too.

We have reached out to the Government to outline possible solutions to this problem. We are proposing two remedies which will help avoid further levels of service diminishment, resulting from pensions tax. These changes would make legislation more appropriate for a period of variable inflation and low real earnings growth. They will not make pension tax charges disappear for everyone, but they will mitigate impacts in periods of variable inflation.  

We’ve updated our advice  and if you have further queries about the Annual Allowance, or our proposals to remedy this situation, please email Phil McEvoy. Though bear in mind that we can’t provide individual forecasts on pensions, or tax charges; and that we are not permitted to advise you on the individual financial impact of any decisions such as opting out of pension schemes, taking early retirement, or reducing NHS work.   

Thursday 4 August 2022


Scotland: SDRS communications go electronic

The Scottish Dental Reference Service (SDRS) monitors the standard and quality of all NHS dental treatment in Scotland by inspecting patients’ mouths either before or after treatment has been carried out.

The SDRS have recently announced that there will be a change in how important communications are shared with you. Once patients have been examined by a Dental Reference Officer (DRO), a report is typically shared with you and your patient regarding the necessity and standard of the treatment.

The recently announced change in communication methods means that letters to dentists, including DRO reports, are no longer sent by post, and are now sent to you electronically using NHS email. Currently, your patients will still receive any correspondence about the treatment that has been carried out by post.
Communicating via email rather than post allows for more secure communication that is also convenient and reliable. All dentists need to ensure NHS email accounts are checked regularly to make sure that no communications are missed.

If you have any queries on the change or issues with accessing your emails, the SDRS can help you. It is easy to get in touch by email, or by calling 0345 712 5449.



Investigating DCT pay disparity

We’re fighting for pay equity for DCT’s in Northern Ireland. Our latest survey has shown a worrying trend in trainees who are feeling underappreciated and undervalued.

Peter Dyer explores the issues in his latest blog: “Some trainees feel cheated, especially as, in some cases they only discover the lower pay once they have signed the contract and started the job. The refusal to put pay scales on job adverts unnecessarily misleads and demoralises trainees.”

We are aware that trainees in Scotland are facing similar pay disparity issues too, including a pay gap between junior dentists and doctors. We are currently gathering more data on pay disparities across all UK nations and will keep you updated with our progress.


Scotland: Pensions adding to workforce pressures

Many dentists are unaware that changes in inflation levels could result in annual and lifetime pension allowance limits being breached, resulting in unwanted tax charges.

David McColl, SDPC Chair and Philip McEvoy, BDA Head of Pensions explore the issues and pressures pensions are putting on the workforce: “You will only receive an annual benefit statement if you are actively paying into the scheme as of 31 March in any given year. If not, your request for a benefit statement will be refused… This is leaving many with pensions that are breaching tax limits due to growth through inflation, with no way of knowing this is happening.”

We are working on ways to solve the problems around pensions and workforce issues. We will keep you updated as we continue to pursue these issues on your behalf.

Wednesday 3 August 2022


Scotland: Confirmation of sub-inflation GDP expenses uplift

We have just received confirmation from the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care that the Scottish Government will apply the recently announced 4.5% pay uplift to General Dental Practitioner expenses. This is despite our recent call highlighting the need for additional support from all four UK administrations to meet rising costs and soaring dental inflation.

In his letter, the Cabinet Secretary cited the pressure on public finances and the “unprecedented challenging fiscal environment”. However, following the sub-inflation pay uplift (which will not be applied to all aspects of GDPs’ take-home pay), this inadequate increase in expenses represents a further real-terms pay cut for dentists.

We will continue to make the case for the financial viability of NHS dentistry, and the need for sufficient Government support.


Survey: The future of the GDS in Wales

We are asking all dentists working in General Dentistry in Wales to share your views and experiences of the service via our survey.

Your responses will help inform ongoing consultations with the Welsh Government about GDS reform and help us to continue to ensure your voice is heard. All responses will be anonymous.

You do not have to be a BDA member to take part in this survey.


Northern Ireland: Rebuilding Support Scheme (RSS) applications open

The Business Services Organisation (BSO) are now accepting applications for the August 2022 RSS payment. Information must be submitted electronically, or it will not be accepted.

You must apply for the August 2022 payment by 5pm on Monday 8 August, the BSO will not be accepting or processing any applications after the deadline and payments will not be made.

You do not need a Cryptocard or access to the BSO secure portal to complete your application and it can be done securely via desktop or mobile devices. You can access more information and support on the BSO website.

Tuesday 2 August 2022


England: Mandatory training on learning disabilities and autism


All health and social care providers registered with the CQC must ensure that their staff receive training on learning disabilities and autism. This new legal requirement was introduced by the Health and Care Act 2022 from 1 July.


Following the introduction of this requirement, the CQC will be looking to see whether providers have provided learning disability and autism training, and assess the competencies of their staff following the training. 


The publication of the Code of Practice may take at least 12 months, but the CQC will provide statutory guidance while the Code of Practice is being developed.


The Oliver McGowan Mandatory Training is based on the Core Capabilities Frameworks for Supporting People with a Learning Disability and for Supporting Autistic People. It has also been co-designed by autistic people, people with a learning disability, family carers and subject matter experts.

Monday 1 August 2022


Survey: Taking the temperature of dentistry


We are asking dentists across the UK to share their views on the recent pay uplift, the situation on contractual arrangements and the prospect for reform.


We need your feedback to help us shape our plans in the year ahead – please take our 5-minute survey


Dentists are facing unprecedented pressure, in all fields of practice and in every UK nation. The recent pay uplifts go nowhere near even keeping pace with inflation, let alone addressing the real terms pay-cut dentists have endured over the last decade.


Terms and conditions in many fields of practice are outdated and not fit for purpose, and we need to keep up the pressure, to ensure meaningful change.


We need to hear your views on the ways you might consider pitching in to help push decision-makers to act, so we can amplify our efforts and be the collective voice for dentistry.



England: Changes for dental foundation training

Contracts for Educational Supervisors and Foundation Dentists have been shared with us by Health Education England (HEE) offices. We have suggested a number of changes, developed a number of comments and outlined issues with the documents that will be either difficult, or unfair and unreasonable. 

Our comments are now with HEE in the hope that these issues will be addressed with us in the coming weeks. We have also asked for copies of policies that are referenced in the contracts but have not been shared with us. Given the shortness of time we were given to consider these we are also reserving the right to bring further issues forward so that these versions are not final. 

We have received a number of queries from members on these contracts. However, for now we must advise our members to wait to see whether our changes are taken on board by HEE. It is likely that these discussions will continue well into August, and we will provide another update with answers to your questions as soon as possible.