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Civility and team harmony key to mental wellbeing of dental professionals

Post date: 11/12/2023 | Time to read article: 3 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 11/12/2023

In a Dental Protection survey of over 1,300 dental professionals in the UK, three in ten (30%) say they have seen or experienced more disrespectful behaviour from colleagues recently than during the pandemic, with over a third (35%) seeing or experiencing this in the last twelve months.

In addition, 65% of those who have seen or experienced disrespectful behaviour from colleagues say it has had a significant or moderate impact on their mental wellbeing.

Dr Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection said: “We know that for any team to succeed, each member must feel valued, respected and supported. Maintaining team harmony in the workplace is the key to organisational success and dentistry is no exception.

“During challenging times, the need for civility and respect is even greater. A difficult day can feel much worse if interactions with colleagues are strained, or if you feel you have been treated disrespectfully.

“Almost two thirds of Dental Protection members who have experienced disrespectful or discourteous behaviour from colleagues say it has impacted on their mental wellbeing, which shows how important it is to maintain a culture of civility.

“When mental wellbeing is poor it is concerning for the individual and can impact adversely on the patient relationship. It can also have a destructive effect on patient care and result in increased absenteeism from work. In some cases, it can drive individuals to contemplate a future outside the dental profession altogether.

“I would encourage dental professionals to look at the ‘Civility Saves Lives’ campaign. While, as the name suggests, it is more aimed at the medical community, its key principles apply to all working in healthcare – namely that when we are in a team which values and respects us, the benefits impact us and our patients. Importantly, it also reminds us that incivility encompasses a range of behaviours such as rudeness, verbal abuse and bullying. We should also be mindful of cyber-incivility which violates our ethical duty to maintain mutual respect within the team.

“I would also encourage members facing mental wellbeing concerns due to interactions at work to make use of our 24/7 counselling service and other wellbeing support which is a benefit of membership with Dental Protection. The service is provided through a third-party partner and is completely confidential.”


Notes to editors

For further information contact [email protected]

  • The Dental Protection survey was completed by 1,379 dental members in the UK. The survey was in the field from 20 March to 17 April 2023.

Key findings:

  • 30% have seen or experienced more disrespectful behaviour from colleagues recently, than during the pandemic.
  • 35% have seen or experienced discourteous or disrespectful behaviour from colleagues in the last twelve months.
  • Of those who have seen or experienced this, 65% say it has had a significant or moderate impact on their mental wellbeing. A further 25% said it is having little impact.

About Dental Protection

Dental Protection is a registered trademark and a trading name of The Medical Protection Society Limited (“MPS”). MPS is the world’s leading protection organisation for doctors, dentists and healthcare professionals. We protect and support the professional interests of more than 300,000 members around the world. Membership provides access to expert advice and support and can also provide, depending on the type of membership required, the right to request indemnity for any complaints or claims arising from professional practice.

Our in-house experts assist with the wide range of legal and ethical problems that arise from professional practice. This can include clinical negligence claims, complaints, medical and dental council inquiries, legal and ethical dilemmas, disciplinary procedures, inquests and fatal accident inquiries.

Our philosophy is to support safe practice in medicine and dentistry by helping to avert problems in the first place. We do this by promoting risk management through our workshops, E-learning, clinical risk assessments, publications, conferences, lectures and presentations.

MPS is not an insurance company. All the benefits of membership of MPS are discretionary as set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

About the counselling service

Our counselling service is provided by our trusted partners ICAS, who offer a personalised and professional service tailored specifically to your requirements and delivered by experienced qualified counsellors.

ICAS's telephone counselling provides immediate access to support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and face-to-face counselling sessions can be arranged near to you and at your convenience, all funded by Dental Protection.

The service is entirely independent and confidential. Dental Protection members can call ICAS now on 0808 189 4385 or +44 3300 241 021 from overseas and quote their Dental Protection membership number to book a free session.

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