Recognition of dentist income reduction welcome, says BDA Northern Ireland
But the real work to put Health Service dentistry on a sustainable footing must start now
16 October 2018
BDA Northern Ireland has welcomed an acknowledgement by the Department of Health, that 'there has been a material reduction in dentist income over the last 10 years'.
Responding to a letter from BDA NI, Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly said it was unclear how much of this relates to the Health Service, and how much is a reduction in private income and they would welcome any exploratory work BDA may wish to undertake to evidence increases in costs or reductions in incomes from dentists to support discussions between the BDA, the Department of Health, and the Health and Social Care Board.
BDA Northern Ireland is calling on the Department of Health to put in place a dedicated work stream aimed at addressing the legacy of nearly a decade of falling dental incomes and rising expenses.
Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee Chair Richard Graham said:
"It is a positive development that the Permanent Secretary has acknowledged there has been a reduction in dentist income over the past decade, and that this has been materially significant. We also welcome the opportunity offered to us to engage directly with officials around evidence of increased costs and reduced incomes.
"Quite simply, it costs GDPs far more now to deliver Health Service dentistry than it did 10 years ago; expenses have increased at a far faster rate than pay uplifts, resulting in average taxable income falling by 38.1% for practice owners, and by 28.2% for Associates between 2008/09 and 2016/17 in real terms. Clearly, this is not sustainable.
"We will be stepping up our engagement with Department of Health in the coming months. We will be making a robust case in favour of adequate remuneration for the real cost of delivering Health Service dentistry. Particularly as another significant underspend in the GDS looks likely, the Department of Health has a duty to be forthcoming with additional investment."
BDA Northern Ireland
BDA Northern Ireland supports, represents and promotes, the interests of all dentists working in Northern Ireland. Working with elected committee members, we negotiate on behalf of the profession on terms and conditions, pay and contracts. Join us.