§ Sir Thomas Arnold
To ask the Secretary of State for Health if she will make a statement on the remuneration of NHS dentists.
§ Dr. Mawhinney
For 1992–93 the target average net income of general dental practitioners is £35,815, an increase in real terms of 33 per cent. over the figure for 1979–80. In 1990–91 nearly a fifth of dentists who did any NHS work earned from the NHS more than £100,000 gross, that is including all expenses. In the same year, expenditure on the general dental service in England alone exceeded £.1 billion; an increase of 43 per cent. in real terms since 1979.
The proposed increase in target net income of 8.5 per cent. which was recommended by the Doctors' and Dentists' Review Body for 1992–93 was accepted in full by the Government. In the normal way, the Health Departments then consulted the general dental services committee—GDSC—about the fees needed to deliver this level of net income. Following discussions between the GDSC and the Health Departments, agreement was reached to hold a joint inquiry to review the level of payments to dentists in 1991–92, the results of which will be considered by the Health Departments and the GDSC later this month when they reconsider the appropriate fee scale for 1992–93. Work on the inquiry is continuing. Simultaneously, they will begin a more fundamental review of the structure of dentists' remuneration.