Dentists’ NHS earnings fall by 8.2%

The average taxable income from NHS and private earnings for all dentists in England and Wales in 2010/11 was £77,900, compared to £84,900 in 2009/10 and £89,600 in 2008/09.

In England the average was £78,300, and in Wales £71,400.

There were wide differences between practice owners £117,200, (down 8.5% per cent decrease) and associates £62,900, (down 4.2%).

The BDA said these figures represented a pay cut of 13% over two years, coupled with increases in practice expenses of 5%. 

Dr John Milne, chair of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee, said: 'We have been telling the Department of Health for some time that the dental profession is suffering a pay cut rather than a pay freeze, which could jeopardise the resources high street dentists need to provide the best quality care to patients.'

A majority (59.8%) of dentists however earned less than £75,000 in 2010/11. Three quarters (78.1) had net incomes of less than £100,000. Only 1.1 per cent (240 in all) earned more than  £300,000.

Gross earnings from practice owners fell from £370,900 to £364,300. Their expenses, however, rose from £242,90 to £247,100.

Average net income for those in PDS (which includes orthodontists) were at £102,500, compared with those with GDS contracts at £74,800.

The figures do not include those in solely private practice and for Corporates they include only the associates, not the company itself. It is also difficult to distinguish between private and NHS earnings.

The report Dental Earnings and Expenses, England and Wales, 2010/11 was published by the NHS information centre and is available on its website (

By Michael Watson

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