Select country
Membership information
0800 561 9000
Dentolegal advice
0800 561 1010
Refine my search

Combatting workforce shortages

Post date: 05/03/2024 | Time to read article: 2 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 06/03/2024

The healthcare sector in the UK, particularly dental practices, is facing significant challenges amid continued workforce shortages and staff retention issues. Practice owners, practice principles and practice managers will need to adapt their strategies in order to overcome the difficulties that have arisen since the COVID pandemic.

Within this article, the experts at Croner will delve into the current landscape, explore the root causes of these challenges, and discuss potential strategies to address them.


Workforce shortages in dental practices

Despite the government announcing a workforce plan increase the number of NHS employed staff to 2.4 million by 2037, dental practices across the UK are still facing a shortage of trained healthcare professionals. These shortages are multifaceted, encompassing various roles such as dentists, dental nurses, hygienists and administrative staff. 

The reasons behind these shortages are diverse with several factors contributing towards the growing challenges. These include an aging workforce, inadequate training opportunities, geographic disparities in staffing distribution, and the failure to attract new talent to the field.

Furthermore, the released workforce plan has already received significant criticism from key stakeholders within the healthcare sector. Although this proposed change would result in trained workers entering workplaces quicker, there are concerns surrounding the level of skill and experience that these professionals would bring to the sector. 


Staff retention challenges

Dental practices are also encountering significant obstacles in retaining their current personnel amidst workforce shortages. While the NHS long-term workplace plan acknowledges the importance of retention, it overlooks the significance of pay structures in retaining staff.

The demanding nature of the healthcare profession, combined with understaffing pressures, can result in burnout and job dissatisfaction among employees. Challenges in staff retention are further compounded by concerns related to work-life balance, career advancement prospects, and discrepancies in remuneration.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also had a significant impact on staff retention, with increased stress and anxiety levels experienced by healthcare workers. The exceptional demands placed on dental professionals during the pandemic have, in some cases, accelerated existing challenges related to staff retention, leading to increased turnover rates in dental practices.


Addressing the challenges: potential strategies

To address these challenges, it is essential to adopt a multifaceted approach that encompasses recruitment, training, retention strategies, and workforce planning. Forward-thinking initiatives may include targeted recruitment drives, collaboration between healthcare providers and educational institutions, investment in training and development programs, and the implementation of flexible working arrangements to support staff well-being.

Furthermore, proactive measures to improve workplace culture, recognize and reward staff contributions, and provide avenues for career advancement can significantly enhance staff retention in dental practices.

In conclusion, these workforce shortages and staff retention challenges are complex and demand strategic interventions. By understanding the root causes of these challenges and implementing targeted initiatives, the healthcare sector can work towards ensuring a robust and sustainable workforce that meets the evolving needs of patients and practitioners alike.

Practice Principal members of Dental Protection can access expert Croner’s HR and H&S support at no additional cost. Contact the Croner advisors today on 0844 561 8133 and quote 60000.

Share this article

New site feature tour

Introducing an improved
online experience

You'll notice a few things have changed on our website. After asking our members what they want in an online platform, we've made it easier to access our membership benefits and created a more personalised user experience.

Why not take our quick 60-second tour? We'll show you how it all works and it should only take a minute.

Take the tour Continue to site

Dentolegal advice
0800 561 1010
Membership information
0800 561 9000

Key contact details

Should you need to contact us, our phone numbers are always visible.

Personalise your search

We'll save your profession in the "I am a..." dropdown filter for next time.

Tour completed

Now you've seen all of the updated features, it's time for you to try them out.

Continue to site
Take again