Northern Irish dentists’ earnings hit new low

Associate dentists in Northern Ireland are the lowest paid in the UK according to the latest Dental Earnings and Expenses report for 2013/14.

The average taxable income for associates in the province stands at £54,200, a decrease of 27.1 per cent since 2008/09. In Scotland the average

associate income of £56,200 was only slightly higher than their NI counterparts falling 24.7 per cent from from the 2008/09 figure of £74,700. In England and Wales the average taxable income for associates was £60,600, compared to £75,400 in 2008/09.

However, for principal dentists in NI, the average taxable income of £115,500 is second only to England and Wales’ dentists at £132,100. This is despite falls since 2008/09 of 22 per cent in NI and 21 per cent in England and Wales. In Scotland, principal dentists’ average taxable income was reported to be £98,400.

Peter Crooks, chair of the Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee (below), said: “Our priority is patient care, but politicians can’t keep taking money out of dentistry and expect business as usual. Eight years of sustained cuts are making it harder for practitioners in Northern Ireland to deliver the service our patients deserve.”

Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, chair of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee (GDPC), said: “Dentists keep being asked to do more with less. Since the financial crash, both practice owners and associates have had to stomach around a 20 per cent drop in their real incomes, and these cuts have consequences. Patients inevitably suffer when our profession is left incapable of investing in new equipment, and facing down a bourgeoning crisis of morale.

“When tooth decay remains the number one source of hospital admissions among children the only option on the menu in Holyrood, Westminster, Stormont and Cardiff has been swingeing cuts. It’s time we saw some real investment in oral health.”

Figures for General Medical Practitioners were also released at the same time. The average taxable income for UK GMPs (contractor and salaried) in 13/14 was £90,200. In Northern Ireland the figure was £96,500, Scotland £86,500, Wales £85,900 and in England £90,700.