A survey to discover the morale of Vocational Dental Practioners (VDPs) in the UK revealed low scores when it came to future changes in NHS dentistry.
But generally they were happy within their team, the new survey suggests.
A confidential postal questionnaire was used to measure levels of morale among all VDPs in the UK in 2007.
It reaped a response rate of 76.7%.
Lowest morale scores were associated with statements referring to concerns about future changes to NHS dentistry, and the limits on treatment within the NHS system.
The highest scores were associated with good working relationships.
The mean morale score for Scottish VDPs was significantly higher than that of the Northern Irish VDPs, which in turn was significantly higher than those of the VDPs in England or Wales.
In England and Wales females recorded higher morale scores than males.
The morale of VDPs in the UK was lower than expected.
Scottish VDPs recorded higher morale scores than other VDPs and responded more positively in the survey.
The most negative responses from all VDPs were regarding the effect of the NHS system on treatment and concerns about future changes to the NHS.
It was reported in the British Dental Journal that the survey instrument provided a suitable and useful measure of morale among VDPs, and continued monitoring of changes in morale is possible using it.