Misleading dental incomes figures in Scotland published

Misleading dental incomes figures in Scotland published

Over the weekend, articles in The Sunday Times and The Scotsman reported that ‘Scotland’s highest paid dentist grossed more than £1 million last year’ The data from NHS Scotland revealed that 18 individuals achieved income of more than £500,000 in 2017-18. The articles failed to point out that these gross earnings figures were for all the dentists in each practice(s) rather than individuals.

Rami Sarraf, who is Scotland’s 15th highest-earning dentist with a gross income of £536,077, pointed out to the The Scotsman that dentists may run several practices and have to pay extensive rents and salaries. He explained: “The truth is that a lot of procedures cost the dentist more than what the NHS is paying and the average earnings of a dentist in Scotland have been dropping dramatically over the past ten years.”

In all, 18 individuals achieved incomes in excess of half a million pounds over the course of 2017/18 with the majority of the best remunerated dentists also having earned ‘substantial sums from private practice’, the articles claimed.

The table was topped by Simon Miller, a specialist orthodontist who runs two practices in Glasgow. He enjoyed a gross income of £1,185,808 and earned over £200,000 more than the second best-paid dentist on the list, Samir Sayegh, who has nine practices across the east of the country, including in Edinburgh and Dunfermline. His work brought in gross earnings of £938,099, the data shows. In third place was Raja Mahesh, who has three surgeries in Fife and West Lothian, and earned £769,659.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, commented: “Taxpayers will want clarification about how much of their salaries are derived from the public and private sectors. It is vital that where public funds are used, we receive the best value possible rather than just filling dentists’ coffers.” The Scottish Government said financial sustainability of dental practices was a “priority”.

The BDA warned that nearly 70% of principals and 60% of associates are considering leaving general practice and claims that the average take-home salary for a dentist has fallen by close to a third in real terms. David McColl, chair of the BDA’s Scottish dental practice committee, said: “The reality is an overstretched and underfunded service. The government has set out ambitious plans for oral health. Ministers must now ensure that funding keeps pace with demand.”

Links:

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/scotland/brace-yourself-scotlands-top-paid-dentist-gets-1-2m-xmb0szlf8

https://www.scotsman.com/scots-dentists-pulling-in-as-much-as-1-1m-a-year-amid-funds-row-1-4912505

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