Dentists’ incomes squeezed

BDA says governments are denying NI dentists the resources to care for their patients

The British Dental Association has accused the government of denying dentists in Northern Ireland the resources they need to care for the “worst oral health in the UK”.

According to the latest earnings and expenses report, the taxable income for dentists in NI in 2014/2015 dropped as gross earnings continued to decrease more than total expenses, extending the trend that has been seen since 2008/2009.

For all self-employed dentists, the average taxable earnings were £70,500, compared with £71,400 in 2013/2014, a drop of 1.4 per cent.

In the same period, average expenses for associate dentists increased by 1.7 per cent to £36,100, while for principal dentists, the figure dropped by 2.7 per cent to £217,000, compared with £223,ı00 in 2013/2014.

Scots GDPs’ average taxable earnings fell to £67,000 in 2014/15, compared with £68,000 in 2013/2014. In England and Wales the figure was £70,500.

Peter Crooks, chair of the Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee, said: “A strategy of sustained cuts is compromising the service in Northern Ireland. Effective care for a population with the worst oral health in the UK costs money, and we are being denied the resources required to do what we’re trained for.”

Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, the BDA’s chair of General Dental Practice, said: “Governments in the UK are squeezing NHS dentistry until the pips squeak.

Every penny of investment this service receives comes from dentists’ own pockets, and this collapse in real incomes has a real impact on our ability to deliver the improvements in facilities, equipment, and training our patients deserve.

“These savage cuts have long ceased to be a question of ‘pay restraint’ or ‘efficiency savings’. A wilful singling out of an entire sector of dedicated health professionals is irresponsible, unsustainable, and carries consequences for millions of NHS patients.”