NHS dentists’ incomes fell by 36% in real terms over past ten years

NHS dentists’ incomes fell by 36% in real terms over past ten years

The BDA has warned that patient access problems risk being here to stay, as a new report from NHS Digital shows sustained pressure on pay for NHS dentists across Britain. Associates in England and Wales, who make up 85% of the workforce, have seen their incomes drop from £67,800 in 2008/9 to £59,700 in 2017/18, a 36% fall to less than £47,000 when factoring in inflation. 

Practice owners in England and Wales have seen their real incomes fall by 30% since 2008/9. The situation is mirrored north of the border, where Scottish owners have seen a 29% real terms fall, and associate dentists a 35% fall. 

GDPC Chair Dave Cottam said: "NHS dentists have faced unprecedented cuts to real incomes, that have left patients across England struggling to get an appointment. From Cornwall to Cumbria recruitment and retention problems are mounting. NHS dentistry simply cannot have a future without NHS dentists prepared to work within it. If Ministers want this service to survive the very least they can do is maintain pay awards on the right side of inflation. One-offs will not undo a decade of savage cuts."

Findings for England and Wales

  • In 2017/18 there was a 0.9% decrease in taxable income of all self-employed dentists from £68,700 in 2016/17 to £68,100 in 2017/18.
  • For GDS contract holders Gross Income was £374,300, Expenses were £265,400 and Net Income (before tax) was £108,900, a fall of 0.1%.
  • For Associates, taxable income fell by 1.9% to £58,500.
  • On average in 2017/18, male dentists had higher gross earnings, total expenses and taxable income than their female counterparts. Men had an average taxable income of £81,900, compared to £54,700 for women.
  • The survey results suggest a general trend for dentists to earn their highest taxable income between the ages of 45 and 54.

Findings for Scotland

  • In 2017/18 there was a 1.1% decrease in taxable income of all self-employed dentists in Scotland, from £67,800 in 2016/17 to £67,100 in 2017/18.

Findings for Northern Ireland

  • In 2017/18 there was no change in taxable income of all self-employed dentists in Northern Ireland, which has remained at £66,400 for two consecutive years.

Dental Earnings and Expenses Estimates, 2017/18, 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 dentistryand are shown for full-time and part-time dentists.

They are produced from a sample of HMRC tax returns, by NHS Digital.

Link: https://files.digital.nhs.uk/8A/414DEF/dent-earn-expe-2017-18.pdf

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