Headlines: October 4th, 2000

Loyal NHS dentists are to receive a windfall next week in a scheme aimed at ensuring quality NHS care is available across the country. Dentists who qualify will be those who have spent a substantial part of each week committed to the NHS for at least five of the last ten years. The payments will be backdated to April, resulting in an immediate windfall for qualifying practitioners of between 100 and 2,000 pounds, depending on levels of service and age.The scheme will encourage retention by being paid quarterly from now on, to dentists aged over 35 who conduct sustained work for the NHS. There are further thresholds at ages 45 and 55 where dentists can receive further quarterly windfalls. This could be worth up to 4,500 per year to senior dentists, and should increase the average earnings of dentists aged 45 or over, who are fully committed to the NHS, to about 60,000 pounds per year.

The commitment scheme was developed in response to the recommendation in Report 2000 of the Review Body on Doctors’ and Dentists’ Remuneration. The dental strategy is available on the Department of Health website at http://www.doh.gov.uk/dental/strategy .