Nearly 2 in 5 (37%) of young dentists in the UK say they are worried about the impact of Covid-19 on their wellbeing, according to a new Dental Protection survey.
In the snapshot survey of dentists who qualified in the last five years, 49% went on to say the backlog in patient treatments due to Covid-19 is impacting on their mental wellbeing.
Over a third (35%) said the backlog had resulted in them working additional hours, and just under half (49%) said they feel positive about their future in dentistry.
The survey was conducted prior to the NHS announcement that more than 350,000 additional dentist appointments are to be made available to patients in England over the coming months, with dentists working over weekends and into the night to try and tackle the backlog of care built up by the pandemic.
Comments from young dentists
“The backlog is a worry because patients take it out on the dental staff and not the NHS who set how we work within the system.”
“Mental health is in tatters, go to work for an NHS practice in a deprived area, deal with rude ungrateful and verbally abusive and intimidating patients all day to no thanks.”
“I can’t cope anymore. I’m moving practice but if the situation with people’s rudeness doesn’t improve I will be leaving healthcare.”
George Wright, Senior Dental Educator at Dental Protection said:
“We are now almost two years into the pandemic, during which time dental professionals have faced a plethora of challenges; not least being expected to adhere to guidelines which have affected the operating capacity of many practices and resulted in a backlog of patients with outstanding treatment.
“Indeed, during recent months, requests to Dental Protection for advice and support have centred around handling complaints from patients because treatment has been delayed or because they can’t access treatment quickly because of backlogs of work.
“We know this is challenging for members, both from a professional and personal perspective. The cumulative effects of stress have affected the wellbeing of the whole dental team – and as this survey shows, the impact on the mental wellbeing of newly qualified dentists is also significant.
“It is particularly worrying that under half of the early career dentists surveyed say they feel positive about their future in the dentistry. We know that clearing the backlog is an overwhelming prospect for the whole dental team, but it is imperative that these young dentists – the future of the profession – feel supported and engaged by the whole system so they can continue in this rewarding profession.
“I would encourage young dentists experiencing work-related stress to make use of our counselling service which is a member benefit. This service is delivered by ICAS’ independent, qualified counsellors who are available 24/7. A range of wellbeing resources are also available including apps, podcasts and webinars at www.dentalprotection.org/uk/wellbeing
Notes to editors
The survey conducted by Dental Protection ran from 18 November 2021- 4 December 2021 and achieved 121 responses from 2,124 dentists in the UK up to 5 years post-qualification.
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.
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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.