Thu, 05 Oct 2023

Dental Earnings and Expenses Estimates, 2021/22

Northern Ireland Executive
27 Jul 2023, 21 GMT+10

NHS England today released details of the earnings and expenses of General Dental Services (GDS) dentists in Northern Ireland in 2021/22.

This is the fifteenth set of earnings and expenses data that have been produced for Northern Ireland.

Previously, separate country reports were produced; the Earnings and Expenses report has been published as a UK report for each of the past nine years.  Below we present key points for Northern Ireland only.

It is important to note that values are not comparable between countries due to differing contractual arrangements and the use of different methods to determine dental type in each country.

Note, the source for all figures is NHS England.

Key Points on GDS Earnings and Expenses Estimates in Northern Ireland 2021/22:

The report presents key findings in terms of average gross earnings, total expenses, and taxable income estimates by dental type and contract type for dentists in Northern Ireland.  The report also contains a detailed breakdown of expenses by dental type, age, gender and activity demographics. 

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 Northern Ireland dentists in 2021/22 are given below.  Where statistically permissible, comparisons for the main findings have been made with the 2020/21 results; however, comparisons should be made with caution.

Factors which can affect comparisons include changes in the dental workforce, changes in type and volume of activity per dentist, changes to allowances, and VAT changes. It is also necessary to consider the absolute changes between years, as well as changes in percentage terms.  In addition, the first cases of COVID-19 in the UK were confirmed late January 2020 and the first UK-wide lockdown was announced in March 2020. Most routine dentistry was paused between April and July 2020. This was followed by a period of recovery and restoration of services throughout the remainder of 2020/21.  Restrictions and activity thresholds throughout 2021/22 will have continued to impact on earnings and expenses.

  • Average taxable income (gross earnings minus expenses, before income tax) for all self-employed GDS dentists (Principals and Associates) was estimated to be Pound 77,200[1] in 2021/22.  This was a 6.4% increase compared with 2020/21 (Pound 72,500).  This annual change was not statistically significant3.
  • Average taxable income for Principal dentists was Pound 138,800 in 2021/22 compared with Pound 122,000 in 2020/21 (an increase of 13.8% - not statistically significant); and for Associate dentists was Pound 60,700 in 2021/22 compared with Pound 59,500 in 2020/21 (an increase of 2.0% - not statistically significant). 
  • In 2021/22, average gross earnings for all self-employed dentists was estimated to be Pound 158,000 and average expenses4 (business expenses allowable for tax purposes) estimated as Pound 80,800.   This equates to an Expenses to Earnings Ratio (EER) of 51.2% (i.e. the proportion of gross earnings taken up by expenses).
  • For all self-employed dentists (Principals and Associates), the lowest combined average taxable income (from Health Service and Private Dentistry), of Pound 59,600, was reported for those dentists whose Health Service earnings accounted for at least 75% of their total gross earnings.  Those whose Health Service earnings accounted for 25% or less and between 25% and 75% of their total gross earnings had taxable incomes of Pound 88,100 and Pound 116,900 respectively. 
  • As in previous years, regardless of dental type classification, male dentists had higher average gross earnings and taxable income than their female counterparts. Female Principal dentists had higher average total expenses (Pound 250,200) than their male counterparts (Pound 243,400).  It is important to note that the report includes both full-time and part-time dental earnings and expenses.  Previous reports have shown that on average male dentists tend to work longer weekly hours than female counterparts and this could be a contributory factor to the differences observed.
  • For all male self-employed GDS dentists, average taxable income was Pound 101,000, compared with Pound 61,000 for all female self-employed GDS dentists. 
  • Dentists aged over 45 had the highest average gross earnings, total expenses and taxable income. 
  • For all self-employed GDS dentists in 2021/22, consistent with the results from 2020/21, the four largest expense categories were Other5 (46.8%), Employee (35.1%), Premises (6.5%) and Office and General Business (6.2%).



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