Belfast Telegraph

Male dentists earn £38k more than women in Northern Ireland

Figures released yesterday by NHS Digital show self-employed General Dental Services (GDS) male dentists are earning £38,000 more in average taxable income than their female counterparts (stock photo)
Figures released yesterday by NHS Digital show self-employed General Dental Services (GDS) male dentists are earning £38,000 more in average taxable income than their female counterparts (stock photo)
Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

A substantial gender pay gap has been revealed within dentistry in Northern Ireland.

Figures released yesterday by NHS Digital show self-employed General Dental Services (GDS) male dentists are earning £38,000 more in average taxable income than their female counterparts.

As in previous years, male dentists had higher average gross earnings, total expenses and taxable income than women.

For all male self-employed GDS dentists, the average taxable income was £87,600, compared to £49,600 for all female self-employed GDS dentists.

The trade union for dentists in the UK, the British Dental Association, said that the "decade-long collapse" in overall dentist earnings risks the sustainability of Health Service dentistry.

Within the report, it showed that the average taxable income for principal dentists (owners of a dental practice) in 2017/18 was £116,000, representing an increase of £16,900 compared to 2016/17.

However, associate dentists (non-owner dentists who work in a practice) earned £52,300 compared to £59,100 in 2016/17 - a decrease of 11.5%.

Average expenses for principal dentists were £231,100 compared to £215,500 in 2016/17 (an increase of 7.2%), and for associate dentists that figure was £33,600 - a decrease of £12,100 from the year before.

Average gross earnings for principal dentists were £347,100 (up 10.3%), while associate dentists faced a drop of 18% in their earnings with £85,900.

The BDA highlighted that since 2008/09, dentist earnings have fallen in real terms by 30% for practice owners, while associates have seen a drop of 39% in their pay.

According to BDA, this reduction has resulted in 70% of practice owners, and over half of associates, describing their morale as low or very low - with nearly two-thirds of dentists considering leaving the profession.

They added that those most reliant on Health Service earnings have experienced a 12.1% fall in taxable income between 2015/16 and 2017/18.

Richard Graham, chair of BDA NI Dental Practice Committee, has called on the "urgent" implementation of the 2.5% pay uplift recommended by the independent review body on doctors' and dentists' remuneration for 2019/20.

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