Wages down, paperwork up for NHS dentists

Average pay for practice owners with an NHS contract fell by £10,900 in 2010-11 while their hours spent on paperwork increased, new figures show. The deterioration in terms and conditions is detailed in two reports published today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

Dental Earnings and Expenses, England and Wales, 2010-11 shows taxable income (gross earnings minus average expenses) from NHS and private dentistry was:

  • £117,200 for self-employed primary care dentists who held a contract with their primary care trust (England) or local health board (Wales) – known as provider-performers/principals/contractors who make up about 28 per cent of the primary care dental workforce. This is an 8.5 per cent decrease from £128,000 in 2009-10.
  • £62,900 for self-employed primary care dentists who work in a practice but do not hold a contract – known as performer-only dentists/associates and who make up the majority (about 72 per cent) of the primary care dental workforce. This is a 4.2 per cent decrease from £65,600 in 2009-10.

Dental Working Hours, England and Wales, 2010-11 and 2011-12also published today, is based on a survey sample of both full and part time providing-performer and performer only dentists carrying out NHS work in primary care. It provides context to the earnings figures and suggests:

  • Between 2006-07 and 2011-12 there were gradual increases in average weekly hours. For provider-performer dentists, hours increased from 39.6 to 41.9 hours (with a smaller increase for performer-only dentists), the main factor being an increase in the proportion of time spent on non-clinical work (23.8 per cent in 2011-12).
  • In 2011-12, provider-performer and performer-only dentists reported working an overall average of 37.5 hours per week in dentistry, of which 28.1 hours (74.8 per cent) were devoted to NHS dental services. The remainder, 25.2 per cent, was accounted for by private dentistry.

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