Funding for NHS dentistry – draw your own conclusions

From today’s BDA Executive Update

Figures highlight mounting expenses of dental practice warns BDA

New figures published by the NHS Information Centre today highlight the increasing expense of providing dental care, the British Dental Association (BDA) has warned. The Information Centre’s report, Dental Earnings and Expenses, England and Wales 2008/09, shows expenses borne by dental practices escalating at a faster rate than incomes were increasing during the period it details. It also highlights an increase in the average self-employed dentist’s taxable income of just £500 during the year.
The average taxable income for all self-employed primary care dentists in England and Wales in 2008/09 was £89,600, compared to £89,100 in 2007/08, according to the report.
The expenses borne by dentists – the costs of providing the building, equipment, staff and materials necessary to provide patient care – increased rapidly during 2008/09. Practice principals saw their expenses rocket by 7.6 per cent from £218,000 in 2007/08 to £235,500 in 2008/09.
John Milne, Chair of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee, said:
“These figures underline what the BDA knows from its own research and talking to members: that the costs associated with providing high street dentistry have risen dramatically. Changes in the exchange rate have had a pronounced impact on the costs of equipment imported from overseas and costs associated with compliance with a variety of regulatory requirements.
“Trends in expenses will need to be monitored carefully to ensure that dental practices are properly supported and are able to provide the resources they need to continue providing high-quality care to patients. The Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body will clearly need to consider the issue of expenses carefully this year and the BDA will be requesting it does so.”
Notes to editors
1. The report is available at:

DDRB role on GDP pay in England suspended

The Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body (DDRB) will play no role in determining the remuneration of independent contractor general dental practitioners (GDPs) and general medical practitioners (GMPs) in England for the financial years 2011/12 and 2012/13, it has been announced. The decision has been taken in light of the current financial climate and the previously announced pay freeze that will affect public sectors workers earning over £21,000 a year.
Instead, the government will determine any gross uplift for GDPs and GMPs directly. It is understood that any uplift will be determined based on the efficiency assumptions government wishes to apply and evidence on non-staff expenses. The government has said it will enter into dialogue with relevant professional bodies about expenses. The BDA will be contacting the Government to take forward that dialogue.
At the time of writing, it is unclear whether the governments in Northern, Scotland and Wales will mirror the decision made by the administration at Westminster.
The announcement comes just days after an NHS information Centre report showing that the 2008/09 financial year witnessed an average 7.6 per cent increase in practice principals’ expenses across England and Wales.

The Monday Morning Quote

“All problems exist in the absence of a good conversation.”

Thomas Leonard

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