BSDHT supports BADN in its call for recognition of dental nurses’ contributions to dentistry

The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) thanks the British Association of Dental Nurses (BADN) for their support of our campaign to raise awareness and inspire change for chairside dental nurse support to be the accepted norm for all dental hygienists and dental therapists working in clinical practice.

To drive the campaign forward we lend our full support to BADN in their call for dental nurses to be recognised for their contribution to dentistry. Dental nurses are registered dental care professionals and must be recognised as such – by employers, by colleagues and by the NHS. 

BSDHT supports BADN’s call for all dental nurses in general dental practice to be paid a salary which acknowledges not only their invaluable contribution to the dental team but also their training, knowledge and professionalism. This does mean not just minimum wage.  

The NHS should also afford dental nurses working in NHS practices the same rights and benefits as all other NHS employees.

BADN calls for recognition of dental nurses’ contribution to dentistry

The British Association of Dental Nurses (BADN), the professional association for dental nurses in the UK, supports the BSDHT campaign for dental nursing support for hygienists and therapists in clinical practice.  This does, however, raise the question of the number of Registered Dental Nurses necessary to provide such support – and why, despite several thousand student dental nurses qualifying and registering every year, a similar number fail to re-register each July and leave the profession.

As BADN President Jacqui Elsden explains,  “The recent pandemic has served to highlight why there are currently insufficient dental nurses in the UK:

  • Although NHS and mixed practices received their NHS funding as normal – and a condition of that funding was that they continued to pay their staff as normal – many refused to pay their dental nurses in full, leaving them with little or no income.
  • Despite requests from BADN to waive or lower the ARF, or to allow monthly payments to ease the financial burden on dental nurses in particular, the GDC refused to recognise the dire financial plight of the largest registrant group and insisted on full payment of £114 by 31 July. This has led to more than 3,500 dental nurses failing to re-register – having had no income since March, many of them just can’t afford to!

“In addition, dental nurses employed in NHS practices are not considered to be NHS employees and consequently are not afforded the same conditions and benefits as NHS employees.  They are denied access to the NHS pension scheme, are not paid according to NHS salary scales but instead are often paid just minimum wage.  Nor are they issued with NHS ID – and consequently were not recognised as key workers during the lockdown period.

“Despite this, when the NHS called for volunteers to assist on the front line, dental nurses were, I understand, the largest registrant group to volunteer – a fact which has not been acknowledged or recognised by the NHS.  Those dental nurses who did volunteer to assist the NHS during the crisis were unable to get their children into childcare, denied entry into  early morning NHS-reserved supermarket openings, and refused access to the many special services offered to actual NHS employees during the crisis – because the NHS refused to acknowledge them and their contribution!

“Dental nurses are registered dental care professionals and must be recognised as such – by employers, by colleagues and by the NHS.  BADN are calling for all dental nurses in practice to be paid a salary which recognises not only their invaluable contribution to the dental team but also their training, knowledge and professionalism, as well as the financial outgoings required just to be allowed to work as a dental nurse – training costs, registration fees, indemnity cover and CPD costs – not just minimum wage.

“BADN are also calling upon the GDC to lower the ARF for dental nurses – or, at the very least, allow monthly payments in order to ease the financial burden; on the Chief Dental  Officers of the four home nations to recognise and acknowledge the contribution of dental nurses, particularly over the last six months, and to require that NHS practices in receipt of NHS funding during the lockdown period  pay their dental nurses their full salaries for that period or have their funding withdrawn; and on the NHS to accord to dental nurses working in NHS practices the same rights and benefits as NHS employees.

“We hope that other bona fide dental  organisations, and the dental press, will support BADN in this and are consequently sending this release to the following organisations to request statements of support:

  • Association of Dental Administrators and Managers
  • Association of Dental Groups
  • Association of Dental Implantology
  • British Association of Clinical Dental Technology
  • British Association of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • British Association of Dental Therapists
  • British Dental Association
  • British Orthodontic Society
  • British Society of Gerodontology
  • British Society of Paediatric Dentistry
  • British Society of Periodontology & Implant Dentistry
  • British Society of Restorative Dentistry
  • Care Quality Commission
  • Chief Dental Officer England
  • Chief Dental Officer Northern Ireland
  • Chief Dental Officer Scotland
  • Chief Dental Officer Wales
  • Dental Laboratories Association (UK)
  • Faculty of Dental Trainers
  • Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK)
  • General Dental Council      
  • Health and Social Care Northern Ireland
  • Healthcare Improvement Scotland
  • Healthcare Inspectorate Wales
  • Health Education England
  • IDA Wales
  • NHS Education for Scotland
  • NHS England and NHS Improvement
  • NHS Scotland
  • NHS Wales
  • Oral Health Foundation
  • Orthodontic National Group              
  • Orthodontic Technicians Association
  • Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority
  • Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

Fourth instalment of Back to Practice webinar series to provide a historical perspective on dental nursing

The British Dental Conference & Dentistry Show has unveiled the 4th edition of the “Back to Practice” webinar series, a digital platform that continues to deliver free support to dental teams during these uncertain times. 

This latest webinar is aimed at dental nursing staff, with an exciting chance for them to win an exclusive prize courtesy of the BADN.

All registrations by midnight tonight (20th August) for the new webinar “Dental Nursing – A Historic Perspective”  will be entered in to a prize draw to win:
*       Blue Orchid Hotels discounted experience vouchers
*       FREE 1 year membership to the British Association of Dental Nurses
*       Bespoke homemade Chocolate brownies
*       Exclusive BADN merchandise

Five lucky winners will be announced during the live webinar this Friday at 3PM!

Dental Nursing – An Historical Perspective

5 lucky winners will be announced live.


Produced in partnership with University of Kent and supported by the BADN  the webinar will aim to provide an insight into the history of dental nursing set within the context of the evolution of dentistry.

Learning Outcomes:

*       Throughout history those conducting dentistry have been assisted.
*       Dental nursing has been a recognised occupation since the end of the 1800.
*       The dental nurses have contributed to wider public health initiatives since the early 1900’s.
*       There is a substantial historical archive documentation charting the challenges experienced in establishing dental nursing in the early years.
*       Sound education and training have underpinned dental nurse practice for over 100 years.

Speakers include:

*       Dr Debbie Reed, EdD, MSc, PGCHE, BA(Hons), Cert Ed, FHEA, Chartered MCIPD, GCGI

This webinar is designed to set Dental Nursing into accurate historical context – tracing Dental Nursing back for at least the past 100 years.

Join the dental community and enjoy free access to our ‘Back to Practice’ resources and webinar series by signing up to our network here:

Dental industry’s reaction to the GDC’s unchanged ARF

After the GDC released a statement stating that the ARF for 2019 would remain the same, leading associations in the profession had some responses to contribute…


The British Dental Association (BDA) has responded to the news that the GDC’s Chief Executive, Ian Brack, has revealed the Annual Retention Fee (ARF) will remain unchanged at £890 in 2019. 

The regulator has offered no detailed rationale for the move, offering instead a series of claims on uncertainty and future risk.  

Dentist leaders have slammed the lack of transparency over the process. Fee levels should be debated and determined in a Council meeting open to the public, linked to a budget and business plan. The BDA had already told the regulator in response to its consultation Clear and certain: A new framework for fee-setting, that not consulting registrants on fee levels again was unacceptable. 

The Council has not yet published its evaluation and response to the consultation. The profession’s trust in the regulator remains as low as ever due to its approach to fee setting and handling – and continuing lack of transparency.

Fees remain the highest of all the UK health regulators and continue to be used to top-up reserves, well beyond the regulator’s own stated requirements. 

 BDA Chair Mick Armstrong said: “The £890 ARF symbolises the GDC’s cavalier disregard for the profession it regulates, offering new excuses when the old ones have worn thin.

“We require a regulator prepared to live within its means, willing to approach upstreaming and contingency planning with a cool head. Instead we have a body that puts padding out war chests above all else.

“We have long argued that the GDC’s approach to its reserves is fundamentally flawed, but even by their own measure, they now exceed their required need. The levels of uncertainty are the same for all the regulators, yet nobody else seems to be arguing in this way.

“The Overseas Registration Exam  – and any new approach to registering EU nationals if necessary – should be self-financing. Yes, there may be overheads, but the bottom line is existing registrants should not have to fund registration costs for new registrants. It is simply not a good enough excuse to hoard our cash.

“When the budget for 2019 hasn’t even been formally agreed by the Council, it is not a good look for the GDC’s Chief Executive to unveil the figures in this manner. The serious concerns about transparency that we keep raising continue and increase. The ARF hasn’t changed, and neither has this profession’s trust or confidence in its regulator. The case for a significant fee cut remains, a coherent argument for a freeze has not been offered.”


The British Association of Dental Nurses, the UK’s professional association for dental nurses – the largest professional group on the GDC Register –  today condemned the GDC decision not to lower the Annual Retention Fee (ARF) for dental nurses.

“We made it very clear, in our response to the GDC consultation, that the current ARF of £116 per year is an unreasonable financial burden on dental nurses, the majority of whom are earning minimum wage” said BADN President Hazel Coey.  “Our salary surveys show that a qualified, registered dental nurse with more than 10 years’ experience and working 40 hours per week is earning, on average, around £15,000 a year – compared to hygienists and therapists, who can earn up to three times that much.

“A one-size-fits-all approach to the ARF for DCPs is not acceptable – and we call upon the GDC to recognise this fact and lower the ARF for dental nurses.  BADN also recommends a reduction in the ARF for those registrants – not just dental nurses but all registrants – who work part time.

“Mr Brack states that “protecting the public and maintaining public confidence in dentistry” will always be the GDC’s first priority. BADN would suggest Mr. Brack remembers that without registered dental professionals there would be no dentistry; and pays a little more attention to the needs of registrants – who, after all, are funding the GDC through their ARF!”

A spokesperson for the GDC told The Probe:

“The GDC is facing specific external risks at a time when it is making significant investment for long-term improvement and efficiency. It’s disappointing because real improvements have been made but the risks are real, and they must be planned for. In the first half of next year, we are consulting on our three-year costed corporate strategy. The activity we propose there will tell us what the ARF level will need to be to carry out that work and we look forward to the debate that will bring.”