Nicola Sturgeon NHS gift paymentThe Scottish government is making a £500 one-off, non-consolidated payment to dental staff.

In a letter to NHS Boards and Practitioner Services on the 8 February, the government confirms the NHS payment after promising it on the 30 November 2020.

The payment is also available to general practitioners, practice teams including admin staff and practice managers.

‘Those who work at the sharpest end of the COVID trauma deserve recognition now,’ Ms Sturgeon said when the payment was announced.

‘The Scottish government will give every full time NHS and social care worker £500 as a one-off thank you. Those who work part time will get a proportionate share.

‘The money will come this financial year and is separate to any negotiations to payments in the longer term. There are no strings attached.

‘It is a demonstration of what we collectively owe you (NHS workers).’

How to receive payment

The government is asking all NHS staff to fill in a form (https://nhsnss.service-now.com/nhs_500_portal) before submitting it to Practitioner Services.

An appropriate person must fill in the form and return it by the 21 February 2021.

Dentists are regarded as full time where they work 40 hours a week. With the exception of dentists who work to a 37.5 hours a week contract.

The arrangements relate to all persons working within a dental practice and also providing NHS services between 17 March 2020 and 30 November 2020 for a minimum of 30 continuous days.

‘Decade of pay restraint’

Despite the ‘gift’, BDA Scotland says this is no substitute for long-term commitments to above-inflation pay rewards.

The payment could benefit up to 300,000 workers, costing the Scottish government around £180m.

However, many healthcare associations are criticising the move as tokenism after a decade of pay restraint.

‘We are pleased to see some recognition for frontline staff,’ Robert Donald, chair of the British Dental Association’s Scottish Council said.

‘But £500 will not make up for a decade of pay restraint. Restraint that hit colleagues in every NHS practice, hospital and clinic in Scotland.

‘If the Scottish Government really wants to say thank you to this service, then it will ensure pay cuts remain a thing of the past.’