Dental Earnings and Expenses UK 2014/15, Additional Analysis Dental Working Hours UK 2014/15 & 2015/16, Additional Analysis

Date published: 19 October 2016


NHS Digital, the new trading name of the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), today released details of the earnings and expenses of General Dental Services (GDS) dentists in NI in 2014/15. This is the eighth time this data has been produced. Initial analysis was published on 14th September 2016.


For the fourth time, dental working patterns information has also been produced; this relates to dentists who performed some health service activity in 2014/15 and 2015/16.  Again, this is additional analysis following initial analysis also published on 14th September 2016.

Previously, separate country reports were produced; this is the second year that a UK report has been produced for both topics.  The Earnings and Expenses report has been published as a UK report for each of the past three years; the Working Hours report is published every two years, making this the second UK-wide report.  The report structure consists of multiple releases of a UK Report that contains data for all countries.  There will be further releases of supplementary analysis for both reports, including Motivation and Morale results as well as supplementary analysis, later in the reporting year. 

Below we present key points for NI only.

Note, differing contractual arrangements across the four countries mean that direct comparison between countries should not be made.

Note, the source for all figures is NHS Digital.

Key Points on GDS Earnings and Expenses in NI 2014/15

The report presents key findings in terms of average taxable income, average expenses and average gross earnings for Principal and Associate dentists.    

It is not meaningful to discuss the average earnings of an average dentist as there is great variation in the different financial arrangements.  However, the key findings among self-employed GDS NI dentists in 2014/15 are given below.

The additional analysis includes earnings and expenses presented by weekly working hours and percentage of time spent on health service dentistry.  Findings are also presented by age, gender and local commissioning group. 

  • Those under 35 years earned the lowest taxable income from health service and private dentistry (£52,800 compared to £76,200 and £85,700 for those aged 35 to 44, and 45 and over respectively).
  • Those aged 45 and over had the highest gross earnings and total expenses, while those under 35 years had the lowest.
  • Male dentists had higher average gross earnings, total expenses and taxable income than their female counterparts.  For male self-employed GDS dentists, average taxable income was £86,800 compared to £55,200 for female dentists.
  • Dentists in Western LCG had the highest average gross earnings and taxable income, while dentists in Belfast LCG had the highest average total expenses; dentists in South Eastern LCG had the lowest average gross earnings, total expenses and taxable income.
  • The Expenses to Earnings Ratio (EER)* for Principal dentists was 66.0% compared to 40.1% for Associate dentists.  The EER for all dentists was highest in Belfast LCG (59.9%) and lowest in Southern LCG (51.2%). The EER is the proportion of gross earnings taken up by expenses.
  • *Note that a designated dentist in each practice is paid a practice allowance under GDS to help address the increasing running costs of health service dental practices in relation to the provision of high quality premises, health and safety, staffing support and information collection and provision.  For technical reasons, it has not been possible to off-set this allowance against expenses and the expense element will therefore be inflated.

Key Points on Dental Working Hours in NI 2014/15 & 2015/16

The report, based on a self-reported survey, presents key findings in terms of average weekly hours, weekly health service hours, weeks of annual leave and the division of work between clinical and non-clinical work.  The survey is conducted every two years spanning a two year period each time. The key findings for 2015/16 are:

  • On average, Principal Dentists worked more weekly hours (42.7 hours) than Associate Dentists (33.5 hours).  Male dentists reported working more weekly hours (41.9) than female dentists (32.2).  Differences may in part be due to the effects of full and part-time working.
  • There is regional variation, with dentists in the Western LCG working an average of 38.2 hours per week on dentistry (both health service and private), while those in the South Eastern LCG reported working an average of 35.2 hours per week.
  • Principals reported spending 67.0% of their time on health service dentistry (28.6 health service weekly hours); for Associates this measure was 76.7% (25.7 health service weekly hours).  There is again regional variation, with dentists in Northern LCG reporting the lowest average health service share (70.3%) and dentists in Southern LCG reporting the highest (73.7%).

Associate Dentists spent more of their dental time on clinical work compared to Principal Dentists (83.0% compared to 70.3%).

Notes to editors: 

  1. Dental Earnings and Expenses UK 2014/15, Additional Analysis and Dental Working Hours UK 2014/15 and 2015/16, Additional Analysis are published on the NHS Digital internet site only. 
  2. Note, NHS Digital must be quoted as the source of all figures.
  3. The Earnings and Expenses Ratio (EER) is a measure of how much of an individual’s gross earnings was consumed by business expenses.
  4. General dental practitioners are independent contractors who have undertaken to provide dental treatment and appliances on behalf of the Health and Social Care Board. Currently in NI, there is only one type of contract under which these dentists can operate, that is, General Dental Services (GDS). Under GDS they have to provide a full range of mandatory dental services.  A self-employed Principal dentist is also the practice owner/partner; an Associate dentist is a self-employed dentist that enters into a contractual arrangement with a Principal that is neither partnership nor employment.
  5. NHS Digital, the new trading name of The Health and Social Care Information Centre, is England’s authoritative, independent source of health and social care information. Its role is to collect data, analyse it and convert it into useful information which helps providers improve their services and supports academics, researchers, regulators and policymakers in their work.
  6. These reports were produced by NHS Digital, in consultation with a working group comprised of representatives from all the Health Departments, all devolved Governments, business support organisations for each country, the British Dental Association, the Doctors and Dentists’ Review Body, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and specialists in dental accounting and law.
  7. Data sources used in report production: (i) raw data containing activity and demographic information on dentists in NI provided by the Business Services Organisation were used to derive the dental population; (ii) the Dental Working Patterns Survey covering 2014/15 and 2015/16, administered by NHS Digital and (iii) self-assessment tax data held and analysed by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) statisticians.
  8. Media enquiries about this press release to DoH Press Office on 028 9052 0505, or out of office hours contact to Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned. Follow us on Twitter @healthdpt

Share this page

Back to top