Have your say

There are often calls within the profession for there to be more unity and collective action in order to achieve the change many are desperate to see. Completing surveys that shine a spotlight on the feelings and experiences of those working within dentistry is one simple action that everybody can take.

The Dentistry Confidence Monitor survey aims to capture what it is like to be a dentist today and provide a level of insight into the mood of the profession. By taking part, you can make your voice heard and add to the evidence about what’s happening in dentistry, which may just help to make a difference and instigate positive change.

Simon Thackeray, a practising dentist, said, ‘Dentistry has never been so challenging to provide and there are multiple facets to the pressures that we are under. Participating in this Dentistry Confidence Monitor survey should be a requirement to let the powers that be know just how the profession is currently struggling to deal with an out of touch regulator, a poorly designed contract, and a lack of mental health support for those trying to care for patients.’

The survey has been run before by Practice Plan and has previously been known as the NHS Confidence Monitor. Its new name, Dentistry Confidence Monitor, reflects the wider scope of the questions across the market, whether you’re in private practice or an NHS setting.

“Participating in this Dentistry Confidence Monitor survey should be a requirement to let the powers that be know just how the profession is currently struggling to deal with an out of touch regulator, a poorly designed contract, and a lack of mental health support for those trying to care for patients.”

– Simon Thackeray

In the last survey the majority of dentists across both sectors reported feeling anxious or very anxious about their ability to meet the standards set by the GDC (80% of NHS dentists and 51% of private). This is one of the reasons that the new survey includes a section of questions about dentists’ confidence in the GDC and feelings towards the regulator.

There is also a new section about mental health. This is in response to the growing statistics about stress and anxiety among dental professionals, including from both last year’s survey and research by the BDA.

The need to delve deeper into understanding the mental health of the profession was also highlighted by comments left by respondents to last year’s survey. These included: ‘I am constantly scared of being sued or reported to the GDC’, ‘I live in constant fear of complaints from the GDC/patients and now attend a counsellor’, ‘The constant stress is causing ill health and lack of motivation’, ‘If I’d have known how stressful being a dentist would be, I would not have come into the profession’, ‘I’ve never been so unhappy at work’.

Unhappiness, fear and stress were a constant theme running throughout the comments, and are a recurring topic when in discussion with the profession either in online forums or face-to-face conversations.

“Providing a snapshot of the reality of dentistry can help to raise awareness of the issues facing the profession and support the case for real change.”

Given that these feelings are career-related, it is vital that questions continue to be asked about life as a dentist and that dentists continue to share their thoughts. Providing a snapshot of the reality of dentistry can help to raise awareness of the issues facing the profession and support the case for real change.

You can fill in the Dentistry Confidence Monitor here.

To read the results from last year’s survey, click here.

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