The British Dental Association (BDA) said it will push to hold a referendum on government pledges to change consultant pay scales and the pay review process.
The BDA and British Medical Association (BMA) are jointly pushing for an above inflation pay uplift for this year (2023/2024) and reforms to the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) to fix pay now and for the future.
The government has now made an offer that makes progress on each of these goals.
The offer will see an additional 3.45% investment together with reallocation of money around 1.5% of the pay bill on new local Clinical Excellence Awards.
This gives a total of 4.95% that will be used to reform the current consultant pay scale. This is in addition to the 6% pay award for 2023/24 and the outcome of the pay review process for 2024/25.
Dental consultants have participated in ongoing industrial action in England, alongside their medical colleagues. Further strike action among this group is set to be postponed pending the vote’s result.
British Dental Association chair Eddie Crouch said: ‘We now have an offer that covers changes to pay scales and to a pay review body that has demonstrably lacked independence.
‘Our consultants aren’t worth a penny less than they were a decade ago. We’ve made progress here and look to our members to have the final say.’
This comes as the dental profession slammed upcoming proposals that formed part of last week’s Autumn statement to limit access to free dentistry for the unemployed.
According to new plans by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, welfare claimants who ‘refuse’ to engage with their jobcentre or take work offered to them may lose benefits.
Under the current system, claimants can be given open-ended sanctions if certain requirements are not met.
But under the new proposals, those facing these sanctions for more than six months could have their claims closed entirely. This would put a stop to these claimants accessing additional benefits including dental care and free prescriptions.
The British Dental Association (BDA) has criticised the move, warning that the hardest hit will be those with the highest needs.
In addition, no new investment for dentistry is expected in the Autumn Budget. The BDA says NHS England has given Integrated Care Boards license to raid ‘underspends’ in dental budgets to plug funding gaps.
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