21 MAY 1948, Page 2

The Dentist's Fee

The appearance of the Spens Committee's report on the remunera- tion of dentists is a reminder that the report of the other Spens Committee on the important question of the remuneration of medical specialists and consultants is still awaited. The disclosures regarding the average dentist's earnings are disquieting. The 1938 figures were taken as basis. It appears that in that year, of men between 25 and 54 years, 25 per cent. had incomes under £450 a year, 5o per cent. under £70o and 75 per cent. under D,000. Accurate mathematical comparisons between the value of money to members of a par- ticular profession in 1948 and in 1938 are not obtainable, but no one can quarrel with the contention of the Spens Committee that in future incomes that were below £800 in 1938 should be increased by L40o and those above that figure by one-third of the amount by which the 1938 income fell short of £2,000. The general view is expressed that a single-handed practitioner working efficiently for 1,5oo hours a year at the rhairside should receive a net income of £1,600 in terms of the 1939 value of money. In view of the arduous and unattractive nature of the occupation that cannot be considered excessive, and it is clear that men of the necessary quality will not be tempted to enter the profession in sufficient numbers by any lesser inducement. That is a material consideration at a time when a comprehensive dental service is aimed at as part of a comprehensive medical service. Mr. Bevan is not likely to cavil seriously at the Spens Committee's recommendations.