The British Association of Dental Nurses (BADN) met with representatives of the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) on February 9, 2024, to discuss the Dental Recovery Plan.

Joan Hatchard, BADN’s honorary president, and Pam Swain, chief executive, met with DHSC officials to discuss BADN’s concerns that the plan did not adequately address the current recruitment and retention crisis in dental nursing.

Joan explained to the DHSC representatives that increasing the number of clinicians, introducing dental vans and oral health programmes and various other schemes outlined in the plan just would not be possible without also increasing the number of dental nurses in the NHS. This involved not only provision for training new dental nurses but also measures to keep dental nurses in the profession.

A recent survey by Debbie Reed showed that many dental nurses were disillusioned by low pay, lack of career development and lack of support and recognition by employers and were leaving the profession.

Joan outlined various initial steps towards remedying this:

  • Increasing dental nurse salaries to a realistic level for registered healthcare professionals
  • Tax relief on CPD costs for employees
  • Recognition by the NHS of those dental nurses working in NHS practices giving them access to the benefits enjoyed by NHS staff (salary scales, access to the NHS pension scheme, NHS ID)

DHSC officials have agreed to speak at a forthcoming BADN Coffee CatchUp on the Dental Recovery Plan and how it affects dental nurses.