Proposed contract heads for ballot

A proposed new contract for salaried primary care dentists in England has been approved by the Department of Health, and will now be the subject of a ballot.

The ballot will begin on 12 November and the deadline for votes is midday on 30 November. If agreed, the contract, negotiated by the British Dental Association (BDA) and NHS Employers (NHSE), would introduce a new training allowance and see terms and conditions modernised and aligned with other clinical staff in the NHS.

The proposals would see a single pay spine replace the existing four-grade structure, a 37.5-hour working week and the introduction of mandatory annual appraisals and job planning that will support a new competency framework.

Pay progression will be based on demonstrating competence in five key areas: clinical, communications, management and leadership, teaching and training, and professionalism. A greater emphasis would also be placed on training and development, with a national appraisal and personal development planning process linked to funding for each dentist’s training needs.

The new contract will cover all dentists working in salaried primary dental care who are on national terms and conditions. Those affected by the changes will receive a letter containing an explanation of the proposed new contract and their ballot paper. The BDA is recommending that the proposals are accepted by dentists.

Janet Clarke, chair of the BDA’s Central Committee for Community and Public Health Dentistry (CCCPHD), said: ‘We believe this contract represents a fair deal for salaried dentists. For the first time, there will be a national appraisal and personal development planning process linked to funding earmarked for each individual’s training needs.

‘At the same time, the advent of a competency-based pay spine will clarify the skills required to progress within the service. These changes would benefit both salaried dentists and the patients they treat.’

Full details of the new contract are available to BDA members on the BDA website at: www.bda.org. BDA members can also access advice via a dedicated telephone helpline on 020 7535 5899.

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