Four in 10 community dentists report high levels of stress at work, a new study has found.
The latest survey of community dentists found that those with the heaviest workloads or who said they did not have enough time for patient appointments reported the highest levels of stress.
In addition to time pressures, poor management and difficult relationships at work were identified as sources of stress.
‘The deteriorating working environment for community dentists needs to be acknowledged and addressed,’ said Michael Cranfield, chair of the British Dental Association’s (BDA’s) salaried dentists committee.
‘The BDA says employers must not ignore the evidence that shows persistent and worryingly high levels of stress amongst their staff.’
Almost a half of community dentists said they ‘often’ or ‘always’ have to work under unrealistic time pressures.
The research from the BDA also shows that more than half (52%) reported that they never, or rarely, received supportive feedback from their line managers, an even higher number (57%) said that staff are not consulted properly about changes at work, while around half of those surveyed said there are insufficient opportunities to question managers.
‘We recognise that managers are under considerable pressure themselves, having to manage ever-increasing demands with over-stretched budgets; nevertheless employers have a duty of care to provide a safe working environment for staff,’ Michael Cranfield continued.
‘Failure to address this not only puts individuals at risk but also undermines dentists’ ability to undertake their challenging roles in treating their patients, many of whom have extensive special needs.’
Around half of community dentists noted that relationships at work are strained, despite feeling supported and respected by their colleagues.
One in five of those surveyed reported that they are subject to bullying at work.