Dentists’ incomes down again

Dentists? incomes down again

NHS Digital reports that in 2016/17 there was a 0.7% decrease in taxable income of self-employed dentists in England and Wales, from £69,200 in 2015/16 to £68,700 continuing the downward trend since 2006/07. In Northern Ireland there was a 4.3% decrease from £69,400 to £66,400 in 2016/17. In Scotland there was a 0.1% increase from £67,700 to £67,800.

The report, Dental Earnings and Expenses Estimates, 2016/17, from NHS Digital provides a detailed study of the earnings and expenses of self-employed primary care dentists who undertook some NHS/Health Service work during the financial year. Figures relate to both NHS/Health Service and private dentistry and are shown for full-time and part-time dentists.

The analyses throughout the report are based on anonymised tax data for dentists with accounting periods ending in the fourth quarter of 2016/17 and effective as of the end of March 2017. The tax data cover self-employed dental income from all sources, including from private dental practice. Data on earnings from employment or for those dentists in private practice only are not included. The report is primarily used as evidence in remuneration negotiations and by the Review Body for Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration.

Real terms data

Taxable income for contract holders in England and Wales fell in real terms from £134,800 in 2006/07 to £115,800 last year. For associates the equivalent figures were £69,400 and £60,800.

Taxable income for principals in Northern Ireland fell in real terms from £121,200 in 2007/08 to £99,200 last year. For associates the equivalent figures were £66,100 and £59,100.

Taxable income for principals in Scotland  fell in real terms from £118,700 in 2008/09 to £109,100 last year, although in 2012/14 it was even lower. For associates the equivalent figures were £67,100 and £56,400.

The British Dental Association’s Chair of General Dental Practice Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen commented:  “Austerity is meant to be over, but across the UK NHS dentistry is running on fumes. We’ve seen a drop in real incomes without precedent in the public sector. The results are predictable, morale at an all-time low, recruitment and retention problems mounting, as patients wait longer or travel further for care. Underfunding and failure to deliver meaningful reform has left the sustainability of this service in doubt. Matt Hancock pledged to put prevention at the heart of his approach to the health service. In the service’s 70th year he must recognise that we can’t have NHS dentistry without NHS dentists.”

The report can be found at:

An interactive report and further data can be found at:


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