BDA and BMA continue important work
In consultation with the British Dental Association (BDA), the British Medical Association (BMA) has produced a report on the failings of the NHS pay review process for doctors and dentists. It details the ways in which UK Governments have interfered with what should have been a totally independent review and highlights the real-term pay cuts that professionals at the coalface have experienced since 2008. The report calls for the pay review process to be reformed immediately so that it can return to its original mandate and restore confidence in the fairness of its results among the dental and medical professions.
As part of the fundamental reform of the pay review process, the BDA and BMA have also recommended that the Review Body membership be reassessed and replaced with true representatives of each profession involved. Other principles that should be adhered to moving forward are that government(s) can only reject recommendations from the review Body on rare and obviously compelling occasions and that a clear and enforceable timetable should be implemented for evidence submission. In addition to many other interesting and widely welcomed points – which can be read in the full report online – the document concludes with an admission that fair pay is critical for “stable industrial relations within the NHS”.
This report is particularly timely given the enormous strain that the entire NHS workforce had been put under in recent times. Individuals and teams have demonstrated unwavering and inspirational dedication to their patients, and it is only right that they are fairly remunerated for their hard work. Furthermore, this could go some way to tackling the workforce crisis across the NHS.
It’s no secret that recruitment has stalled significantly throughout the NHS. In dentistry, we have been bombarded by headlines about individuals leaving the profession in droves for some time. Ever-more challenging conditions – including time restrictions, massive patient demand and increasing material costs – are causing people to change careers entirely with the allure of similar pay in less stressful environments.
Encouragingly, the GDC’s latest registrant report shows a small increase in number of registered UK dentists from the latest renewal. Though it is far too early to establish any trends, it paves the way for a little more optimism than most will have had in recent times.
Of course, there are many problems that must be tackled when it comes to strengthening the NHS and building an organisation that can deliver the care generations will need in the years to come. Paying healthcare professionals fairly is one of the fundamental aspects that must be enforced with urgency. The future of the NHS depends on it.