NHS Welsh dentistThe government has announced a below-inflation 1.44% pay rise for Welsh NHS dentists from 1 April.

This is inline with a report from the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) on remuneration for NHS dental professionals.

The Welsh government has also announced that it expects Welsh NHS dentists to seek further efficiency savings, this is all despite NHS dental charges rising by 3.9% for band one treatments, 2.3% for band two treatments and 5.4% for band three treatments.

‘I am pleased that I am able to award pay increases in line with the independent pay review bodies’ pay recommendations and to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to staff working in the NHS in Wales,’ Vaughan Gething, Health Secretary for Wales, said.

‘I am also committed to working in social partnership with employers and those representing NHS staff to consider the way forward on the other issues the pay review bodies raised.’

‘Stretched to breaking point’

BDA Wales has slammed the pay rise, saying NHS dentistry in Wales is ‘stretched to breaking point’.

The British Dental Association (BDA) Wales, claims associates and practice owners have seen their taxable income fall by 35% in real terms over the last decade.

‘If the Welsh Assembly is serious about improving the nation’s oral health then it must start by putting its money where its mouth is instead of relying increasingly on inflated patient charges to fund NHS dentistry,’ Katrina Clarke, chair of the Welsh General Dental Practice Committee, said.

‘NHS dentistry in Wales is being stretched to breaking point.

‘We are already facing a recruitment crisis, and even more worryingly we are seeing practices closing thereby making it harder for patients to access dental care.

‘There is no further scope for savings, and this increase will not stop more practices closing.

‘NHS practices increasingly cannot balance the books given the spiralling costs of running dental practices.’