- Published: Friday, 05 August 2022 08:02
- Written by Guy Tuggle
- Hits: 1039
On the day that the Bank of England raised its lending rate by five basis points (.5%) to 1.75% - the highest increase for 27 years – it also issued a warning that inflation was poised to bust through the 13% barrier early in 2023. Coinciding with the announcement, the British Dental Association (BDA) has written to health departments across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales seeking a 15% uplift.
The BDA claims the rise is now needed to confront the twin headwinds of staff pay costs and dental expenses which, as reported on GDPUK and elsewhere, are rising by 11.5% according to BDA research.
"Rising costs mean that the Governments’ pay award of 4.5% is far behind what dentists need to keep up" the BDA said.
In a scathing comment of the treatment of dental services in recent years, the profession’s trade union added “Inflation has been running below 3% for most of the period since the 2008 financial crisis. This coincided with the longest period of low wage growth since the Napoleonic war 200 years ago. The Retail Price Index (RPI) tells us that the cost of living has risen over 11% since this time last year and most economists predict this trend to continue into next spring. Rising costs mean that the Governments’ pay award of 4.5% is far behind what dentists need to keep up.
It’s common knowledge that as the world came out of the covid pandemic there were global supply chain problems which have latterly been turbo-charged by the Ukraine war. Britain has also had to confront additional barriers and delays as it adjusts to life in a post EU membership world – many dental materials come from EU countries and trade is often far from seamless.
The BDA added “Government investment in dental services has stagnated over the last decade. This latest round of rising costs, from energy bills to simply buying a decent set of gloves, is piling on extra pressure just as dentists are trying to meet the demands of the NHS backlog. Mixed and private practices are also affected – dental inflation is hitting everyone in the profession.
We’re hearing from some members about the struggle to source materials. Many important items for practices to run on a day-to-day basis are made abroad, in the EU or further afield. Utility bills are also rising sharply. The machinery of modern dentistry, our drills and x-ray machines, are costing more than ever to run. The cost of laboratory time has also increased, adding to the price of dental treatment”.
Independent analysis of dental inflation collated by the BDA’s annual member survey reveals that “nearly one-fifth of dentists have seen utility bills rise by more than 50%”
The survey’s results add that “Information on the increases is backed up by hundreds of personal statements that allude to concerns about rising prices. The increase in staff costs is also illustrative of the wider problems in NHS recruitment and retention”.
The BDA used its data, together with information from NHS Digital, to arrive at an overall figure for the rise in dental expenses of 11.15%
“This is the most detailed analysis of dental costs to date, and our research team will continue with this work. Our data gathering and analysis will include further surveys to understand your concerns this autumn” the BDA told its members.
The BDA’s cri de Coeur on behalf of the profession was summed up “NHS dentistry is approaching crisis point across the UK. We have requested that all governments apply an uplift of 15% in relation to staff pay costs and 11.15% in relation to other expenses. This would ensure that the funding provided to practices to deliver NHS services is not cut in real terms.
NHS Dentistry is essential for the nation’s health and must be adequately funded”.
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