Appraisal for salaried dentists

Dentist and patient

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

See our guidance documents on appraisals for Salaried Dentists. 

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. 

Salaried dentists’ appraisals

In April 2020, in response to a request by the British Dental Association (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. 

We will review the position in April 2021. 

Indicative training allowance

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. 

Health and wellbeing 

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 specific guidance for workforce leaders and tools to help you support your staff

The BDA has a dedicated webpage 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.

Other resources:

  • NHS Practitioner Health is a free, confidential NHS service for doctors and dentists across England with mental illness and addiction problems.  Tel 0300 0303 300 or email
  • The Dentists' Health Support Trust provides dentists with free advice and support on health, alcohol, drugs and other issues. Tel 0207 224 4671 or email
  • Confidential is a confidential helpline by dentists, for dentists. 
  • Samaritans provides confidential support to anyone experiencing difficulties or in distress. Tel 116 123 (UK) or 116 123 (ROI) - these numbers are free to call, or email
  • Our NHS People provides NHS staff support including wellbeing guides, apps and events. 
  • Every Mind Matters is a Public Health England resource to help people manage and maintain their mental health.
  • Reading Well supports people to understand and manage their health and wellbeing using helpful reading.

Please stay safe and take care in these difficult and trying times.


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