New figures also show pay for non contract holders fell by nearly £3,000

Average pay for self-employed dentists who hold a primary care contract fell by £10,900 to £117,200 in 2010/11, new figures show.

The decrease is detailed in one of two new reports published today by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC). The other report, on dentists’ working hours to 2011/12, suggests their average weekly hours have gradually increased.

Dental Earnings and Expenses, England and Wales, 2010/11 shows in 2010/11 taxable income (gross earnings minus average expenses) from NHS and private dentistry was:

  • £117,200 for self-employed primary care dentists who held a contract with their primary care trust (England) or local health board (Wales) – known as providing-performer dentists (who make up about 28 per cent of the primary care dental workforce). This is an 8.5 per cent decrease from £128,000 in 2009/10.
  • £62,900 for self-employed primary care dentists who work in a practice but do not hold a contract – known as performer only dentists and who make up the majority (about 72 per cent) of the primary care dental workforce. This is a 4.2 per cent decrease from £65,600 in 2009/10.

The report also shows, considering both groups together:

  • 59.8 per cent earned a taxable income of less than £75,000 in 2010/11 compared to 55.8 per cent in 2009/10
  • 1.1 per cent (240 dentists) earned a taxable income of at least £300,000 in 2010/11, compared to 310 (1.5 per cent) in 2009/10.

Dental Working Hours, England and Wales, 2010/11 and 2011/12, also published today, is based on a survey sample of both full and part time providing-performer and performer only dentists carrying out NHS work in primary care. It provides context to the earnings figures and suggests:

  • Between 2006/07 and 2011/12 there were gradual increases in average weekly hours. For providing-performer dentists hours increased from 39.6 to 41.9 hours (with a smaller increase for performer only dentists), the main factor being a gradual increase in the proportion of time spent on non-clinical work (23.8 per cent in 2011-12).
  • In 2011/12, providing-performer and performer only dentists reported working an overall average of 37.5 hours per week in dentistry, of which 28.1 hours (74.8 per cent) were devoted to NHS dental services. The remainder, 25.2 per cent, was accounted for by private dentistry.

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: “Today’s figures show dentists on average have seen a drop in their income, with those that hold a contract with a Primary Care Trust or Local Health Board seeing a fall in 2010/11 of over £10,000.

“This information will of course be of use to dentists but also other groups including the public and policy makers. Coupled with today’s other report that suggests a gradual increase in dental working hours, this information highlights changes taking place to the working lives of primary care dentists.”

Dental Earnings and Expenses, England and Wales, 2010/2011 presents earnings and expenses results by Strategic Health Authority in England, age and gender. It is at www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/dentalearnexp1011

Dental Working Hours, England and Wales, 2010/11 and 2011/12 is at www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/dentalworkinghours1012

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