Figures published today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) underline the scale of the continuing financial challenge facing dental care in England and Wales, the British Dental Association (BDA) has said.
The figures show that incomes are falling while the proportion of turnover being spent on expenses increases.
According to the Dental Earnings and Expenses: England and Wales, 2011/12 report, the average taxable income for primary care dentists delivering NHS care dropped from £77,900 in 2010/11 to £74,400 12 months later.
And while the amount spent on practice expenses – such as premises, equipment staff and regulatory requirements – by practice owners fell slightly in absolute terms during the period, the proportion of earnings that went on expenses rose from 67.8% to 68.5%.
Dr John Milne, chair of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee, said: 'These figures provide further evidence of the financial challenge facing dental practices across England and Wales and underline what the BDA has repeatedly stressed about the importance of governments properly supporting Health Service dentistry.
'This is the fourth year in a row that we have seen incomes reduced and it becoming increasingly untenable for practices to cope. I urge the health departments to look very seriously at these figures and act to protect practice viability and the provision of high-quality care to patients that the erosion of funding we are seeing is jeopardising.'