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We know that dentistry is often ‘forgotten’ about when it comes to healthcare – our ‘Cinderella’ service has been under-funded for years, and costs for dentists have been rising, whilst incomes have been falling.
To add to this, the announcement by Matt Hancock Secretary of State for Health last week about giving doctors greater flexibility over their pensions (no mention of dentists), was another oversight.
On hearing this news, we wrote to Mr Hancock, and told him that dentists are also facing the same five-figure pension tax charges as our medical colleagues and that consistency is needed, and fast.
Dentists are also subject to these unfair taxes on pensions, and just for working hard and trying to ensure ever-trickier to manage NHS contracts are fulfilled, and ensuring our patients get seen without ridiculous waiting times.
Access problems have been mounting for some time in dentistry, we’ve highlighted the long waits, long trips, and the viability of holding NHS contracts in some areas. Asking dentists to down tools is not the solution here.
Recent NHS England figures show that roughly one in four new patients have not been able to secure an NHS dental appointment in the last two years, and this number is rising.
The potential solution that perhaps doctors should do ‘less’ work, to ensure they aren’t being stung by higher tax charges didn’t go down well with the BMA, and it doesn’t go down well with us either.
We’ve been lobbying the government since 2017 to make changes to the NHS Pension scheme after the changes were introduced to clamp down on pensions tax relief for earners over £110,000 per year.
And other trade unions, from both the healthcare and wider public service sectors, have joined us in the call to ensure all workers are being treated equally under any new pensions arrangements. Because, if this Government does otherwise it risks opening the floodgates to legal challenges.
And whatever Westminster decides will undoubtedly have an impact for dentists working in all four of the UK countries, as well as across the fields of practice – it’s an issue that likely affects a large section of our membership, and we need to stand together to show change is needed.
We are currently surveying members to build a clearer picture of the impact of pensions tax, and your views will help us respond to the Government’s current consultation.
We continue to ask for a fairer deal for dentistry, no dentist should lose out on their pension simply for working hard to ensure NHS patients have been treated.
Paul Blaylock, Chair of BDA Pensions Committee
Getting a fairer deal on pensions tax
Dentists working under the NHS Pensions Scheme in England and Wales can face large tax charges, due to the complexity of the current system. We are calling for greater flexibility within the NHS Pensions Scheme to ensure dentists get a fairer deal.
Through our policy and campaigning work, we ensure that the concerns of all sections of the profession are raised and that dentists' voices are heard at a national level: join us.