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Survey suggests the NHS has little to offer the dental profession

Survey suggests the NHS has little to offer the dental profession



The third NHS Confidence Monitor has revealed that 70% of survey participants would not recommend dentistry as a profession to a family member or friend.

To reflect the profession’s growing interest in the NHS Confidence Monitor, this latest survey was launched to enable all members of the dental team to share their thoughts, providing a deeper and wider understanding of the whole profession’s perception of NHS dentistry. With 590 participants, it is the most comprehensive survey in the series thus far and makes it clear that all dental team members feel similarly to those dentists who answered the questions posed by the previous survey in the summer of 2015.

As before, the survey monitored the profession’s confidence in:

•               The future of NHS dentistry as a whole

•               Future career prospects

•               Remuneration levels

•               Getting the balance of treatment versus prevention within the NHS right

•               The ability of the team to work effectively within the NHS

•               Whether patients will be happy with level of care provided.


In addition, the survey was extended to explore two new issues: whether respondents would feel happy encouraging a family member or friend to pursue a career in dentistry, and their proposed age of retirement to gauge the possibility of a staffing crisis in the future.

When considered as a whole, the NHS Confidence Monitor indicates that an overwhelming majority of dental professionals are lacking confidence in many aspects of NHS dentistry.

Speaking about the results, Judith Husband, a dentist who participated in the second Insights Panel meeting and who sits on the BDA’s Principal Executive Committee, commented: ‘I was unsurprised but nonetheless sad to learn that confidence levels are so low among dental team members across the board. We need to look at these figures within the general landscape of dentistry, so not only how the NHS contract is affecting the profession, but also regulations, the role of the GDC, and the levels of patient complaints. All of that can make practising NHS dentistry a daunting prospect, to say the least.’

Looking at the results in greater detail, it was further revealed that dentists’ desired age of retirement ranges significantly, with an average of 60 years old.

In relation to this outcome, Andrew Lockhart-Mirams, co-founder of Lockharts Solicitors and a member of the Insights Panel, said: ‘We are seeing a greater number of dentists considering their retirement plans earlier than ever before. 60 may not seem a young age to retire, but certainly the number of people who, broadly speaking, have said to me that they are retiring four or five years earlier than they had anticipated is growing. The age has come down, without any doubt at all.’

The results of the latest survey will shortly be presented to an ‘Insights Panel’ made up of key opinion leaders and experts from the dental profession who will explore and debate their significance and implications for the future of NHS dentistry. The panel’s findings will then be shared with dental professionals throughout the UK.

For detailed results from this and the last two surveys, as well as to gain access to the discussions from our previous Insights Panel meetings and interviews with our panel members, visit www.nhsdentistryinsights.co.uk


This Friday 18th our NHS Dentistry Insights Panel are meeting to discuss the results of our latest NHS Confidence Monitor survey. The panel consists of 6 KOL's and dentists, including Eddie Crouch, Judith Husband and David Houston. If you'd like us to pose your question on NHS dentistry to our esteemed group, please post them here and we will feed back their answers after the event.

You can view the latest results of the confidence monitor here http://www.nhsdentistryinsights.co.uk





The NHS Confidence Monitor is an independently verified survey commissioned by Practice Plan.

The NHS Confidence Monitor was conducted to gain insight into the confidence levels in NHS dentistry. The results will ensure Practice Plan has the most up-to-date information to provide the very best support to dentists looking to make an informed decision about the future of their practice.

The third forum of key opinion leaders will be held in March and includes Judith Husband, Eddie Crouch, Andrew Lockhart-Mirams, Sarah Franks, David Houston and Paul Worskett. Information on their thoughts will be released soon.

Practice Plan is the UK’s number one provider of practice-branded patient membership plans. They have been supporting dentists with NHS conversions for over 20 years, helping them to evaluate their options and, for those who decide to make the change, guide them through a safe and successful transition to private practice. 

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