The Dentist Magazine.

Uplifts: Inexcusable delays place services in peril claim BDA

Published: 12/4/2018 12:00:00 AM

The British Dental Association has received confirmation that dentists in England will get a 1.68 per cent uplift in their December pay run, which should be seen in early January 2019.

Practitioners have been waiting four months since the Government made their announcement on what uplift they could expect. Only now do dentists finally know the extent of the uplift on contract values for 2018/19 – a mere 8 months since the award should have been in place in April 2018.

Contractors will see a 1.68 per cent uplift backdated to April 2018 - but also because 1.68 per cent is not the full two per cent uplift promised in pay, an additional 0.65 per cent award will be made on April 1, 2019 to realise the full two per cent promised back in July. This does not affect the nature of any future award being made from April 2019 but it does mean that any subsequent awards are based on a two per cent 2018 award.

On 15 November, the Statement of Financial Entitlements were finally signed to allow contract uplifts to be paid in January and contractors will not see any increases in their uplift until 2 January 2019.

The BDA has seen delays represent a new low for pay reviews. At this stage the BDA has usually submitted the evidence for the next year of pay awards and has a date in the diary to give oral evidence. The BDA have expressed their profound concerns that the DDRB process is only just commencing.

The delays to the process in England seem to be set now on a delayed course meaning late award implementation. Combined with the exit of the UK from the EU in March 2019, any process is unlikely to be high on the government agenda for April 2019 implementation.

BDA vice chair, Eddie Crouch, said, “Dentists are usually bitterly resigned to the late application of the contract in addition to the paltry amount being offered. However, this year’s delays represent a new low.

“Pushing the uplift back to a January 2019 receipt date cannot be justified given the challenges many practices are facing to simply maintain viability. For reasons of affordability, the recommended uplift was announced as a staged award back in July. We know the profession has suffered under austerity and pay restraint, and even though pay ceilings have been lifted we are still adversely affected.

“While the Government is tied up by Brexit negotiations and political wrangling, hardworking NHS dental colleagues are seeing ever eroding income and decline in earnings. A once stable profession is struggling to stay afloat and maintain the high quality care that our patients deserve. 

“The anger and frustration across the profession is palpable. These delays have been unacceptable, the failure to implement the award in full in 2018 is inexcusable. Continued unwillingness to recognise a profession at the very limits of its patience will leave NHS services in a perilous position.”