Confidence levels within NHS dentistry

ConfidencePractice Plan shares the first insights from its independent surveys showcasing the dental profession’s confidence levels in NHS dentistry.

A series of independent surveys, commissioned by Practice Plan, is set to reveal how confident the dental profession feels working within NHS dentistry over the next 12 months, compared to the previous 12 months.

With a long line of new contract management initiatives being introduced to dentistry and changes hailed in the structure of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) standards, this set of surveys – hailed an NHS Confidence Monitor – is intending to track how confidence levels within NHS dentistry could change over the next 12 months.

Aiming to gain valuable insights into the dental profession, the results will reveal inner thoughts and feelings surrounding the contract reform, the structure of NHS dentistry and how it will all affect the future of working within the NHS.

Carried out by an independent market research specialist, the first survey, which took place ahead of the release of new information on NHS prototypes, asked dentists offering predominately NHS treatment to rate their confidence against five key statements in relation to how confident they will feel in 12 months’ time compared to a year ago. The key statements covered topics ranging from patient care to remuneration and revealed some interesting results.

So, how confident are dentists in the future of the NHS?

Will the level of remuneration be appropriate?

Possibly unsurprising to some, the majority (54%) of respondents asked said they were less confident that working within NHS dentistry would offer them an appropriate level of remuneration in 12 months’ time.

Interestingly, with only 9% feeling ‘more confident’ in this area, it’s clear that despite efforts to make the system more workable for the industry and patients, dentists overwhelmingly still feel they won’t be appropriately remunerated for the level of work they’ll have to put in.     

How about career prospects?

Not much change for the majority on this one with 45% feeling ‘as confident’ in their career prospects over the next 12 months compared to 12 months ago. Good news…you’d think, but, on the flip side, with more than twice as many respondents (39%) saying they’re ‘less confident’ than ‘more confident’ (16%) in their future career prospects, this may not paint such a great picture for the future of the profession.

Will the NHS offer the right balance of treatment versus prevention?

Unfortunately, not so. The majority of respondents (44%) said they were less confident that, over the next 12 months, the NHS would offer the right balance of treatment versus prevention. So, is the profession losing confidence in the ability to offer preventive care to patients under the restrictions of the NHS? With only 15% being more confident that the balance will be right, this could be so.

Will patients be happy with the outcome of attending an NHS dental practice?

Very positively, the results showed that an overwhelming 61% are ‘as confident’ that patients will be happy with the outcome of attending an NHS practice over the next 12 months; great news for the population as a whole and a sign that the profession is committed to overcoming any future obstacles to ensure the general public have access to the care they need within NHS dentistry.

Practice Plan is a specialist provider of practice-branded patient membership plans in the UK. The company will be hosting a series of insight panels, which include some of the industry’s key opinion leaders who will share their thoughts on the results of these surveys.

The NHS Confidence Monitor will be conducted again later in the year, of which more results will be released.

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