The Government have promised to modernize the Agenda for Change pay structure for general nurses and GP practice nurses are calling for the Government to include them. Dental teams employed in the NHS sector are also included in the agenda for change pay structure, surely then dental nurses working in general dental practice should also be linked to the agenda for change pay structure if the dental practice holds an NHS contract. The salary for dental nurses in general dental practice has frequently been recognised as low and particularly in practices with NHS contracts. When you consider the cost of the annual retention fee set by the the General Dental Council, the cost of indemnity and the cost of continual professional development activity there is no wonder many dental nurses have more than one job to make ends meet. We all accept that it is not just the financial reward that we take from the role, but dental nurses work long hours and are valued members of the team and should be remunerated accordingly.
Registration may have set us on a professional path, but with registration comes cost. It is disappointing that such a great step demands such a huge outlay and with no guarantee of being paid what many see as an acceptable salary. Many dental nurses are lucky to be paid a salary equivalent to that of the healthcare assistant and yet we are constantly reminded of our professional responsibilities, that we are accountable for our professional activity and behaviour – so why are many dental nurses poorly paid?