Hundreds of British dentists earn more than £300,000 ($450,000) p.a.

(Average annual incomes for full-time male employees in Britain are around $27,500)

Hundreds of dentists are earning more than £300,000 under new NHS contracts, official figures have disclosed. Tax data has shown that 410 dentists in England and Wales earned more than £300,000 in 2008/9, up by eight per cent on the previous year.

In total almost 700 dentists earned more than £250,000 from NHS and private work, according to the figures from the NHS Information Centre.

The findings will reignite the debate over highly paid health professionals, especially at a time when many civil servants and workers in the private sector are losing their jobs. GP partners earn on average £100,000 but some have been found to earn salaries of more than £250,000.

The government has announced plans to freeze public sector pay for the highest earners as the NHS struggles to save £20bn over the next four years.

New contracts were introduced in 2006 to make the payment system for patients simpler but it was warned that dentists would be encouraged to carry out more complex treatments in order to earn more money.

The report showed that across all dentists the average earned was £89,600 in 2008/9, up by just £500 on the previous year. This is because the majority do not run practices and are employed by principals to work shifts and so may work part-time.

For dentists who run the practice, holding contracts with the NHS, while also treating patients, the average salary before tax was £131,000, up by three per cent on the previous year.

However dentists’ representatives said the data also showed that the expenses involved in running a practice had increased faster than income. Average expenses increased by 7.6 per cent while the practice income only increased by six per cent, the British Dental Association said.

John Milne, Chair of the BDA’s General Dental Practice Committee, said: “These figures underline what the BDA knows from its own research and talking to members: that the costs associated with providing high street dentistry have risen dramatically. “Changes in the exchange rate have had a pronounced impact on the costs of equipment imported from overseas and costs associated with compliance with a variety of regulatory requirements.

“Trends in expenses will need to be monitored carefully to ensure that dental practices are properly supported and are able to provide the resources they need to continue providing high-quality care to patients. The Doctors’ and Dentists’ Review Body will clearly need to consider the issue of expenses carefully this year and the BDA will be requesting it does so.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “This data refers to dentists’ earnings in 2008/9; and it includes both NHS and their private work. “The Coalition Government recently announced a two year pay freeze for all NHS staff earning more than £21k a year and is currently considering how best to apply this pay freeze to groups such as GPs and dentists whose NHS income covers both their personal pay and practice expenses.”

A separate report from the centre showed dentists are now carrying out more complex treatments, which also earn them more money. The number of band three treatments, such as crowns, dentures and bridges, being carried out rose by 12.2 per cent in 2009/10. This compared with just a 2.7 per cent increase in simpler band one treatments.

The NHS Information Centre also released data showing the proportion of patients who have used an NHS dentist in the last two years and reveal a wide variation. It shows that people Great Yarmouth and Waveney are three times more likely to see an NHS dentist than those in Kensington and Chelsea in London.

Overall the areas where the fewest people saw and NHS dentist tended to be affluent suggesting they were treated privately.


Too many middle class students at university, says British Liberal leader

Upbringing blamed. Must not mention the role of IQ or genetics. Brains help you to get rich and you pass on your higher IQ to your children genetically — so kids from affluent backgrounds are more likely to be born smart and thus do well in education. There will ALWAYS be a class gap in educational achievement and ignoring that is pissing into the wind

Nick Clegg attacked middle class dominance of university places yesterday, denouncing what he called ‘educational apartheid’ on the eve of the A-level results.

The privately educated Deputy Prime Minister revived memories of Labour’s war on the middle class by complaining that the huge increase in the number going to university has done nothing to improve social mobility.

Mr Clegg used a speech on improving the life chances of the poor to point out that the vast majority of new university entrants have been students from affluent homes. The LibDem leader, who says he benefited from a ‘very lucky upbringing’ and education at the exclusive Westminster public school and Cambridge University, said that ‘a disproportionate number of university students come from the middle and upper classes’.

With up to 160,000 pupils, who get their A-Level results today, expected to fail to win a university place, Mr Clegg suggested that the vast expansion of university spaces over the last 20 years may not have been a good thing. The number of students attending university has gone from 15 per cent of school leavers at the start of the 1990s to 40 per cent now. At one stage, Labour’s target was for 50 per cent of all 18-year-olds to attend university.

But Mr Clegg said: ‘There is evidence that – contrary to expectations – increased levels of attendance at university have not translated into higher levels of social mobility. ‘This is why I feel so passionately that we need to attack the educational apartheid that currently exists between vocational and academic learning.’

His comments were reminiscent of Gordon Brown’s outspoken attack on Oxford University after it rejected straight-A comprehensive school pupil Laura Spence ten years ago. The then Chancellor’s comments backfired when it turned out that the admissions department in question had an impeccable record of admitting talented students from underprivileged backgrounds.

Mr Clegg used a speech to the think tank Centre Forum to blame middle class dominance of the universities and ‘closed professions’ such as medicine, the law, politics and the media for a decline in social mobility under Labour.

But the Deputy Prime Minister did admit that he might not be where he is today without such a privileged upbringing. He said ‘the evidence is absolutely overwhelming’ that the circumstances of your birth determine your opportunities in life.

Mr Clegg said that good parenting is more important than poverty in determining life chances. He suggested government should look at encouraging parents to help their children with their education. ‘Parents are in the frontline when it comes to creating a fairer society, in the way that they raise their children,’ he said.

‘According to one study, the amount of interest shown by a parent in their child’s education is four times more important than socioeconomic background in explaining education outcomes at age 16.

‘This is not an area where the state can simply pull a lever or two and put things right. These are also potentially perilous waters for politicians. But at the same time we must not remain silent on what is an enormously important issue. ‘Parents hold the fortunes of the children they bring into this world in their hands.’

Mr Clegg is to run a Government campaign to improve social mobility to try to persuade voters that the coalition ‘is about much more than cuts’. He also confirmed the appointment of former Labour Cabinet minister Alan Milburn as a ‘social mobility tsar’, reporting to Parliament on whether the Government is helping the less well off get on in life.


Graduating no longer guarantees a promising career

Comment from Wales

The results are in and the clearing process is well under way. As A-level students up and down the country plan their next step into higher education, record numbers face a desperate scramble for university places. But with spiralling costs and unprecedented competition, Gareth Evans asks whether the stresses and strains are really worth it?

TODAY marks the dawn of a new era for thousands of students across Wales, but what happens next is by no means certain. Record numbers are expected to be disappointed and could need to look elsewhere. Fortunately, scoring a degree is not the only key to being successful. Music mogul Simon Cowell left school with no qualifications and Sir Richard Branson ducked out at 16 to launch a magazine. A limited education has done neither particularly badly, and starting work in your teens has never been so appealing.

University vice-chancellors are this year expecting fewer places, despite a UK Government pledge to increase numbers by 10,000.

Society is changing at an alarming pace and higher education is undoubtedly the 21st century norm. But the phenomenal rise in demand, triggered by a debated rise in standards, is in danger of bringing the system to an abrupt halt. The number of students predicted to lose out this year could be as high as 200,000 following an increase in applications of more than 11%.

Knuckling down and working hard no longer guarantees progress, as it might have done 30 years ago. The reality is that highly-motivated and qualified learners are now commonplace and still struggling to find work years after graduating.

A university degree, in all its different guises, is not as saleable as it once was – and anything less than a 2:1 is regularly frowned upon.

Those lucky enough to progress into higher education are met with a wealth of options, from the traditional to the outright bizarre. There is literally something for everyone in institutions the length and breadth of the land. Selection is crucial and the likelihood of future employment must be weighed against short-term credibility and enjoyment.

Some qualifications, so narrow and niche, confine their reader to incredibly limited opportunities. There are only so many forensic experts and sports scientists in the world and vacancies are scarce.

But university is as much about social mobility and “finding oneself” as it is classroom learning. The pressures of settling down in a new town or city cannot be underestimated as young learners evolve into young adults in a little under three years. But is a crash-course in life skills and the headache of a highly-competitive jobs market really worth the predicted £25,000 debt?

According to the results of this week’s Push Student Debt survey, UK undergraduates now owe on average £5,600 for each year of study. Fees have gone up, the cost of living has spiralled and the “bank of mum and dad” is running dry after the recession. Average debt for students at university in Wales is, at £6,411, considerably greater than anywhere else.

UK Universities Minister David Willetts provided hope this week, declaring: “Graduates on average have better employment prospects and can expect to earn at least £100,000 net of tax, more than non-graduates across their working lives.”

But, as defiant NUS Wales president Katie Dalton has warned: “The governments in Westminster and Cardiff Bay need to ensure that they are taking action to provide young people with education, employment and training opportunities and do not relegate a generation of young people to the dole queue.”

The conundrum is clear for all to see and the plethora of recent university-fuelled press coverage has thrown up few surprises.

Government plans to scrap the fixed retirement age has not helped, with new workers hindered by older staff wanting to stay in employment beyond their 65th year.

The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (Ucas) this year saw a 63% rise in applications from the over-25s. Chief executive Mary Curnock Cook told the Western Mail: “More young people are doing well in their studies and, faced with a difficult job market, older applicants feel that they need better qualifications.”

Thousands of school-leavers facing disappointment in this week’s clearing crisis are preparing themselves for a stressful scramble.

But studying part-time or at home is a viable option, with the Open University in Wales reporting a 45% increase in 18 to 24-year-olds choosing from its range of 600 qualifications. Traditionally the domain of the mature student, the OU is attracting a new generation of learners warned away from the bright lights of live-in university.

Last week, the principal of a Cambridge college said the academic gap between school and university was widening, partly because the attention spans of students had been shortened by “bite-sized” A-levels.

A major international study is due to be launched by England’s exams watchdog Ofqual to check whether the country’s A-levels are as testing as their global equivalents.

Just when you thought the outlook could not get any bleaker, research published this week revealed the risk of a teenager dropping out of school, training and work has risen by 40% since the start of the recession. Just over 9% of young people with Level 3 qualifications, which include A-levels, were classed as NEET – not in education, employment or training – in the second quarter of 2010, up from 6.4% in the first quarter of 2008.

But the analysis of the Labour Force Survey, conducted by the ippr think-tank and the Private Equity Foundation, revealed young people who left school with no qualifications were the most at risk of dropping out of education and work.

Lisa Harker, co-director of the ippr, said: “While it is true that those with A-levels and degrees have seen their risk of becoming NEET increase the fastest, they remain much better protected than young people who have no qualifications, and they are likely to do better when the economy recovers.”


British marriage registrars branded bigots for avoiding gay weddings by ‘swapping shifts on religious grounds’

A sensible compromise branded as illegal

Two registrars are under investigation after being accused of juggling rotas to avoid conducting civil partnership ceremonies. The pair allegedly claimed they could not preside over the civil partnerships because it went against their religious beliefs.

Instead of simply refusing to carry out the ceremonies, the two, who work at Lambeth Register Office, in South London, are understood to have informally swapped shifts. This is said to have been exposed when a registrar giving a talk at a Lambeth Council ‘diversity training’ seminar used it as an illustration. Sources claim the registrar used the shift-swapping tactic as an illustration of good practice.

A gay member of staff was horrified that staff were swapping shifts as a way to ‘get around the law’. She complained to the council’s chief executive, Derrick Anderson, and an inquiry was launched.

Liberal Democrat councillor Brian Palmer, who himself had a civil partnership at Lambeth on the first day new laws came into force in 2005, then took up the matter. He wrote a letter asking council leader Steve Reed if he was aware that registrars were ‘apparently circumventing Lambeth’s publicly stated equalities standards and the law by refusing to conduct civil partnerships’.

‘He will know that such actions will be grossly offensive to many members of the borough’s large LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community including myself,’ Mr Palmer wrote. Branding the ‘avoidance of duty’ as ‘wholly unacceptable as well as illegal’, Mr Palmer went on: ‘What steps is he taking to ensure that all members of the community using Lambeth Registrar Services are treated with respect and equally under the law?’

Labour leader Mr Reed replied: ‘This council does not tolerate bigotry for any reason.’ He said he had asked the chief executive to ensure all members of staff were aware of their ‘ contractual obligation to provide services equally to all residents who are entitled to use them and to ensure all managers are making this happen’.

Lambeth Council confirmed an investigation had been launched. But a spokesman said nobody had been suspended. He added: ‘Lambeth Council is fully committed and supportive of civil partnerships. ‘The Registrars’ service has never declined to administer a civil partnership enquiry, booking, taking of a notice or indeed delivering a ceremony or registration. ‘We are very clear that no one has, or ever will in the future, be turned down for a civil partnership for any reason other than that we cannot accommodate the date or time they request.’

The Civil Partnership Act, which allowed homosexuals to establish partnerships with all the legal rights of married couples, came into force in 2005.

Last year the Appeal Court ruled that a woman registrar in Islington, North London, who refused to perform the ceremonies because they were against her Christian beliefs broke the law. Judges said the right to express a strong Christian faith must take second place to the rights of homosexuals.


British privacy law proposed to stop rise in gagging orders by judges

Britain could get its first ever privacy law to stop judges creating one by stealth through the courts, a justice minister said. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Lord McNally suggested that the right to privacy could be enshrined in law after a number of celebrities were awarded so-called “super-injunctions” to gag the press.

But campaigners for freedom of speech will fear that any new privacy law could frustrate investigations by journalists that are clearly in the public interest, such as The Daily Telegraph’s inquiry last year into MPs’ expenses.

Lord McNally, a Liberal Democrat minister in the Ministry of Justice, was speaking after a spate of gagging orders on the press — which have been criticised in some cases for protecting the wealthy — were ordered by the courts.

Injunctions and super-injunctions — so called because even their existence cannot be reported — have been used by sportsmen such as golfers Colin Montgomerie and Tiger Woods, and John Terry, the former England football captain, to protect their privacy.

Last Friday, a leading Premier League footballer won a High Court injunction to prevent the publication of claims about his private life.

Lord McNally said: “There has been a general consensus that a new piece of legislation that clarifies, consolidates and removes some of the more dangerous aspects of the way case law has grown up is something that is desirable.”

The Coalition last month announced a consultation on a new defamation bill, claiming that the courts were restricting freedom of expression. The Bill would cover the growth in “no win, no fee” libel cases and build on an existing private members’ bill on libel law reform that was presented to the House of Lords in May by Lord Lester of Herne Hill, a Lib Dem peer.

However, Lord McNally suggested in an interview with The Daily Telegraph that the new legislation would go further, in effect creating a privacy law. He conceded that there were concerns that a privacy law had been created through successive rulings by judges. Some, such as Mr Justice Eady, have been heavily criticised.

Lord McNally said: “There was a danger that we were getting towards having privacy law by judicial decision. If we are going to have a privacy law it should be openly debated and freely decided by Parliament.”

The number of injunctions, in which a court orders a newspaper not to publish a story, has risen since the 1998 Human Rights Act. Lord McNally said that the newer “super-injunction” was “something that has caused concern and is something that will be dealt with”.

The Master of the Rolls, the most senior civil court judge in England and Wales, has set up a committee to examine the use of super-injunctions and other injunctions which impact on press freedom.

Lord McNally said super-injunctions were “something that has grown up by stealth, rather than by considered desire of Parliament and therefore they will be in the sights when they look at the reform of the law”. The new legislation would be a “consolidation” and “clarification” of the case law that will “hopefully remove some of the more onerous aspects of the way that case law has grown up”.

The Government could set up a joint committee of both Houses to take evidence in public “which would get us the balance that is needed”, he said. Hearings could take place next year, and proposals form the basis of a new Bill in the Queen’s Speech next autumn. The legislation could be on the statute books by 2012, he said.

Any new Bill would build on the work of Lord Lester, whose private members bill suggested that libel claimants will have to demonstrate “substantial harm” to their reputations if they want to sue successfully in the courts.

Lord McNally said a privacy law would not go as far as in France, where the media is heavily restricted. “For us, the collected wisdom is that our law as it stands is slightly out of kilter, has encouraged a certain amount of libel tourism and does need an overhaul,” he said.


The surprising Mr. Cameron: “It has been decades since any attempt was made to reverse the growth of government in developed countries. To the extent that leaders have shown reformist zeal, it has usually emerged at the local level — for instance, the commendable crusade by Michelle Rhee, the chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools system, against the education bureaucracy. Given the long-standing reformist drought in rich countries, Prime Minister David Cameron’s efforts in Britain deserve attention.”


About jonjayray

I am former member of the Australia-Soviet Friendship Society, former anarcho-capitalist and former member of the British Conservative party. The kneejerk response of the Green/Left to people who challenge them is to say that the challenger is in the pay of "Big Oil", "Big Business", "Big Pharma", "Exxon-Mobil", "The Pioneer Fund" or some other entity that they see, in their childish way, as a boogeyman. So I think it might be useful for me to point out that I have NEVER received one cent from anybody by way of support for what I write. As a retired person, I live entirely on my own investments. I do not work for anybody and I am not beholden to anybody
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