- Published: Friday, 22 July 2022 17:46
- Written by Guy Tuggle
- Hits: 1165
Britain’s accelerating ‘Summer of Discontent’ stands to enrol the dental profession as the British Dental Association warns of the consequences of soaring inflation on the delivery of dentistry.
As economists and the Bank of England predict that the UK’s inflation rate is spiralling towards 11%, analysis of dental sector inflation by the BDA confirms that practices are already enduring inflationary pressures well in excess of this figure.
“We’ve looked at data from official sources and our own surveys, and it reveals the huge inflationary pressures that dentists are now facing, with lab bills increasing on average by 15% and nearly one-fifth of dentists seeing their utility bills rise by more than 50%”.
The BDA is in no doubt that if practices are unable to keep pace with rising prices their viability will be threatened. The sector is already battling with the resumption of often punitive targets and a severe recruitment and staff retention crisis.
Although a 4.5% contract value uplift was announced earlier this week - higher than any uplift for over a decade – the consensus of opinion is that it fell woefully short of the headline inflation rate and does not cover expenses.
A statement issued by the BDA said “Following the real-term pay cuts announced this week, we are demanding that all UK health departments ensure that uplifts on expenses – anticipated shortly – at least keep pace with inflation, to ensure dentists are not left delivering NHS care at a financial loss”.
Officials at @NHSEngland and @DHSCgovuk have to understand the need to act here.— Shawn Charlwood (@ShawnC_GDPC) July 22, 2022
It’s simple numbers.
NHS dentists are working as contractors, and cannot be expected to deliver care at a financial loss. https://t.co/IUnyeAh8RE
DDRB Stresses Need For Additional Funding
The Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) was no less emphatic in its comments, saying: "our recommendations (on pay) this year are net of expenses and therefore do not take into account fluctuations in operating costs. Ensuring that dental practices’ financial sustainability and dental earnings are not affected by such fluctuations is an important responsibility that lies with the governments, in agreeing expenses uplifts."
The DDRB only makes recommendations on pay and leaves the four UK administrations to determine the allocation for expenses to arrive at an overall uplift in contract values and fees.
The DDRB continued "expenses uplifts must be sufficient to both deliver dental services and protect dental incomes, ensuring that our pay recommendations are received by providing-performers and associates alike, in order that they can address issues of recruitment, retention and motivation."
Deputy Chair of the BDA Peter Crooks said “No frontline health professional should be expected to provide NHS care at a financial loss. Dental inflation is soaring….if the governments fail to step up it will have devastating consequences for millions of patients”.
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