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NHS pay cap lift excludes dentists and senior leaders.

26 March 2018

NHS pay cap lift excludes dentists and senior leaders.

The British Dental Association (BDA) has welcomed the deal struck between NHS staff unions and government, and insisted it must set a precedent for dentists and other frontline health professionals.

More than one million NHS staff, including nurses, porters and paramedics, are being offered increases of at least 6.5% over three years - with some getting as much as 29%.

The deal has been formally agreed by union leaders and ministers and staff will now be asked to vote on the deal, with rises backdated to April if they agree by the summer.

The deal is tiered with the lowest-paid in each job receiving the biggest rise. The agreement covers all staff on the Agenda for Change contract - about 1.3m across the UK - which is the entire workforce with the exception of doctors, dentists and senior leaders.

The deal effectively marks the end of the NHS pay cap that has existed since 2010, and is a response to burgeoning pressures within the workforce, including 33,000 nurses leaving the NHS in the past year. The package does not apply to doctors or dentists who have been facing similar pressures.

Dentists leaders have said the logic must be applied to all frontline health professionals, including dentists in hospital, community and general dental practice. High street NHS dentists in England have seen real incomes fall by 35% over the last decade.

BDA Chair Mick Armstrong said: "We welcome recognition that taking NHS pay restraint to the nth degree is not compatible with a sustainable workforce or patient access. Colleagues are now looking for a sign that government is willing to apply that logic to all parts of the health service.

"NHS dentistry is facing similar pressures on recruitment and retention, that risk becoming endemic in the face of an historic collapse in real incomes. It's imperative this deal sets a precedent for all frontline health professionals."

Recent survey evidence suggests over two thirds (68%) of NHS practices in England who attempted to recruit in the last year struggled to fill vacancies. The BDA has also reported that 58% of NHS dentists say they are now planning to leave the service in the next 5 years. Colleagues working with vulnerable patients in community practice have seen recruitment issues emerge in specialist posts, and are reporting - for the first time ever - net dissatisfaction about pay.


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