‘Too little, too late’
The BDA has welcomed news from the Department of Health that GDPs in Northern Ireland will receive the 1 per cent pay uplift alongside their salaried colleagues.
The health department announced details of its public sector pay policy for 2017-18 last week (15 December) but the news left the status of contracted health workers, including GDPs and GPs, uncertain.
Despite the clarification, the BDA continues to express “grave concerns over the service’s sustainability after nearly a decade of pay squeeze”.
Peter Crooks, chair of BDA’s Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee, said that taxable incomes for associates and practice owners in NI have fallen by more than a quarter since 2008.
He said: “While we welcome clarity on the uplift, once again, it’s a case of too little, too late. This below inflation uplift will do little to address the chronic underinvestment in the service, and the year on year erosion of pay.
“Colleagues have been hit by a drop in real incomes without parallel in Northern Ireland’s public sector. We cannot be expected to keep Health Service dentistry running on vapour.”