NHS dental pay rise outstripped by soaring inflation

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NHS dental pay rise outstripped by soaring inflation

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Though NHS workers recently received a pay increase of 4.5%, it is significantly lower than the current UK inflation rate of 9.4%. (Image: pitchr/Shutterstock)

LONDON, UK: In many parts of the world, growing inflationary pressures are causing the cost of living to increase sharply. To help remedy this stress, the UK government recently announced that National Health Service (NHS) workers, including dental professionals, would receive a pay rise of 4.5% backdated to April 2022. This increase has been met with criticism by the British Dental Association (BDA), however, which argued that such pay rises should match inflation and that the failure to do so “will only accelerate the workforce crisis facing NHS dentistry”.

In June, The Guardian reported that, whereas government ministers had set a maximum pay increase for NHS workers of 3%, independent pay review bodies had strongly recommended an increase of between 4% and 5%. On 19 July, the government announced that the pay rise would be 4.5% for dentists and doctors and that the recommendations from these review bodies would be accepted in full.

Though this figure represents the largest pay increase for public health workers in the UK in two decades, it is significantly lower than the current rate of inflation. Inflation has now reached 9.4%, according to the Office for National Statistics, and the Bank of England has predicted that it could reach more than 11% by the end of this year, the BBC has reported.

In a press release, the BDA expressed its anger with the decrease in real income that NHS dentists would experience and noted that it would consult its membership to help determine its response.

“For a decade we’ve seen euphemisms of ‘pay restraint’ and ‘efficiency savings’ amount to the deepest pay cuts in the public sector,” said Dr Peter Crooks, deputy chair of the BDA’s Principal Executive Committee. “This derisory offer will only serve to give dentists more reasons to reconsider their future in the NHS, and millions of patients will pay the price.”

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