Pay disparity revealed

Cited as a major contributor to low morale among trainees in Northern Ireland

A survey of dental core training (DCT) by the British Dental Association has revealed “worrying trends”, particularly among trainees in Northern Ireland.

More than half of respondents rated their morale as low during their training post. Pay disparity was a major factor, with many finding it demoralising to take a pay cut at the same time as trying to take the next steps on the career ladder.

After qualifying, dental students complete a year of compulsory training as Dental Foundation Trainees (DFTs). DCT then gives students the opportunity to spend up to two or three years learning different specialities.

The survey shows that more than 70 per cent took a pay cut when moving from a DFT to a DCT post in Northern Ireland, with three in four not being aware of the pay cut before taking the post. Trainees also report feeling very demoralised; many are feeling underappreciated, doing the same job as peers for significantly lower pay.

Trainees moving from DCT to speciality training are losing up to £10,000 a year compared with those in other nations.

“This is leaving dentists who are right at the start of their careers, already facing health and wellbeing issues,” said Peter Dyer, of the Central Committee for Hospital Dental Services.

“We’ve raised the situation with the Department of Health and the postgraduate Deanery. I’ve personally sent letters to the Minister of Health in Northern Ireland, and we have met with the Department of Health. Each new conversation brings excuses and lost information or files, rather than answers. Each time a deadline has been set to take things forward, it has slipped.”

Dyer said that the BDA was gathering more data on pay disparities across the UK nations and would continue to lobby on members’ behalf.

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Published: 12 September, 2022 at 19:45