Welsh NHS dentists will receive a below-inflation pay rise of 1.44% on 1st April, the government has announced. This is keeping in with a report from the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration (DDRB) who seek to remunerate NHS dental professionals.

The Welsh government is expecting Welsh NHS dentists to try and obtain further efficiency savings, despite NHS dental charges rising by 3.9% for band one treatments, 2.3% for band two treatments and 5.4% for band three.

Vaughan Gething, Health Secretary for Wales, commented that ‘I am pleased that I am able to award pay increases in line with the independent pay review bodies’ pay recommendations and to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to staff working in the NHS in Wales. I am also committed to working in social partnership with employers and those representing NHS staff to consider the way forward on the other issues the pay review bodies raised.’

The pay rise has been criticised by BDA Wales, who said that the Welsh NHS dentistry is ‘stretched to breaking point’. They have claimed associates and practice owners have seen their taxable income fall by 35% in the last decade.

Katrina Clarke, chair of the Welsh General Dental Practice Committee, commented that ‘if the Welsh Assembly is serious about improving the nation’s oral health then it must start by putting its money where its mouth is instead of relying increasingly on inflated patient charges to fund NHS dentistry.’

‘NHS dentistry in Wales is being stretched to breaking point. We are already facing a recruitment crisis, and even more worryingly we are seeing practices closing thereby making it harder for patients to access dental care. There is no further scope for savings, and this increase will not stop more practices closing. NHS practices increasingly cannot balance the books given the spiralling costs of running dental practices.’