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Pay rise announced for NHS dentists

NHS England has announced details of the pay settlement for dentists in 2014/15, the changes took effect from 1 April 2014.

The Department of Health has decided to raise all GDS (general dental services) contracts and PDS (personal dental services) agreements by 1.6%.

This will allow for a 1% increase in net pay and for other increases in expenses.

It will automatically be applied by the NHS BSA (Business Services Authority) on payments to be made during April.

Dentists who employ a foundation trainee and currently receive a training allowance of £753.46 per month, will have this raised to £761.00 per month.

Foundation trainee salaries for those currently in training will also be increased by 1%.

However, the dental foundation trainee salaries will be reduced over time by around £2,000 to match the first post registration year for doctors and, in the words of NHS England, ‘to regain a level playing field in this area’.

Area teams have been told to introduce ‘local efficiencies’.

These include clawing back funding for ‘excessive under-delivery of contract activity’ and moving to ‘a shorter return cycle for activity and performance data'.

Area teams have also been told to improve anti-fraud measures and reduce unnecessary dental referrals from primary to secondary dental care.

Efficiencies across the board include finding savings from ‘increasing complexity of treatment, without any increases to funding or changes to weighting of courses of treatment.’

Practice computerisation will continue and there will also be savings from changes in maternity, paternity and sickness pay.

NHS England has calculated that its efficiency package for 2014/15 is expected to deliver savings across national and local levels, in line with the rest of the NHS, some 4%.

The British Dental Association (BDA) has reacted strongly to these measures, especially the reduction in the salary of dental foundation trainees in the future.

Dr Mick Armstrong, chair of the BDA’s principal executive committee, said: 'Dentistry is already facing acute financial pressures.

'We will be emphasising these and stressing the need for dentists to be properly supported in talks on any proposals for efficiency savings.

'For that dialogue to be constructive and meaningful it will require the department to take on board our concerns and work with, not against, dentists.

'The stated proposal to reduce the salary paid to dental foundation trainees will sound alarm bells across the profession.

'Targeting those at the start of their careers, many of whom will have graduated with significant levels of debt, will appear to many as an attempt to prey on the most vulnerable members of the profession.

'We will oppose such an attack vigorously.'

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