Employment guide for salaried dental staff

Terms and conditions of service, model contracts, job planning and appraisals for salaried dental staff.

22 October 2020

Access the terms and conditions of service and model contracts for salaried dental staff. The TCS have applied since 2008 and include a structure for pay, career development and job planning. There are also details and guidance for appraisals.

The terms and conditions of service for salaried primary care dental services are negotiated between NHS Employers and the British Dental Association. We are seeking additional employer representatives for this team.

If you would like to get involved, please email

The current terms and conditions have applied since 1 April 2008 to dentists in the NHS in England. The contract includes a structure for pay and career development which includes the following key elements:

  • A single pay spine with three competency pay bands covering the following groups: dentists, senior dentists, specialist dentists and managerial dentists.
  • Each pay band is split into six pay points and the dentist will need to demonstrate the competencies for the post to move through the band.
  • The pay structure is supported by mandatory annual appraisals and job planning to support salaried dentists' career development.

Contractual documents

Salaried dental FAQs

Our frequently asked questions document for salaried dentists includes information on the appeals process, indicative training allowance, job planning and appraisal, roles and competences, service complexity, terms and conditions and assimilation.

  • Guidance on job planning was agreed in 2007 as part of the move to the new contract.

    The salaried dental job planning guide sets out the job planning process for salaried dentists. It covers job planning principles, the elements of the job plan, how to carry out a job plan review and guidance notes. There is also a template job plan form available for downloading.

    See our guidance document on job planning.

    Download our template job planning form.

Appraisals for salaried dentists including information for COVID-19

Guidance on appraisal was agreed in 2007 as part of the move to the new contract.

Use our guidance documents on appraisals and download our template appraisal form for salaried dentists.

Appraisal during COVID-19

The following message is from the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) (dental) which comprises NHS Employers and the British Dental Association (BDA). We work with the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC), Health Education England (HEE) and other national bodies to manage and maintain the national contract for salaried primary care dentists’ and support dental trainees, staff and their employers on workforce matters.

Thank you

First and foremost, the JNC(D) acknowledges the contribution of dentists to the extraordinary NHS response to the COVID-19 pandemic this year. Dental trainees and staff have been redeployed in a variety of roles to support the COVID response, and have worked hard to continue to provide services to those who need them most under extremely difficult circumstances.

  • In April 2020, in response to a request by the BDA, NHS Employers sought and gained ministerial approval to temporarily suspend appraisals (which are an annual requirement for those on the salaried primary care dentists’ contract). This decision was made in line with the GMC’s suspension of revalidation for medical colleagues, and the general principle to pare back unnecessary processes for staff and employers, to enable a focus on immediate priorities.

    The suspension was agreed until September 2020, by which point we hoped to have resumed a degree of normal service. In view of the fact that this is not the case, we have, as a joint negotiating committee, considered next steps.

    Recent guidance issued by the Academy of Royal Colleges (AoMRC) and correspondence from NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSEI) to NHS leaders suggests a gradual reinstating of, and ‘light touch’ approach, to medical appraisals, which focus on the health and wellbeing of staff. We recommend a similar approach for salaried dentists with the following considerations being made by appraisers and appraisees:

    • Dentists have the right to request a formal appraisal. Where this is not the case, this year’s appraisal discussion should be informal, enabling a summary of activity undertaken to be captured through discussion. Expectations for written evidence should be minimal and manageable.
    • Appraisal discussions should have a clear focus on health and wellbeing, enabling dialogue between the appraiser and the dentist and identification of any support needs.
    • No dentist should be disadvantaged in terms of pay progression for not having met objectives set before the pandemic.
  • This budget should be used by managers to support the training and development needs of dentists identified and agreed during the appraisal and job planning process. We would like to remind employers and staff that the budget can be spent prospectively and/or retrospectively (not just ‘in year’). The resumption of appraisal discussions, in line with the guidance above, offers a good opportunity for dentists to consider what training they would wish to undertake to support their development. Employers should adopt a flexible approach when considering the merits of each request to access this allowance.

  • The committee is acutely aware of the impact the ongoing pandemic is having on staff. A range of work has been, and continues to be, undertaken at national and local level to provide employers, staff and trainees with resources to support their health and wellbeing.

    NHS Employers has a wealth of COVID-19 specific guidance for workforce leaders and tools to help you support your staff.

    The BDA has a dedicated web page and a health assured helpline for members providing access to counselling for emotional problems and a pathway to structured telephone counselling, legal information, bereavement support, medical information and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) online. There is also a tackling stress course in the continuing professional development hub. The BDA Benevolent Fund is available to help dentists who are experiencing financial difficulties.