stressHealth Education England (HEE) has made recommendations for sweeping action on stress across healthcare professionals.

Some of the 33 recommendations made in the NHS Staff and Learners’ Mental Wellbeing Commission report include:

  • Introducing an NHS Workforce Wellbeing Guardian – a board-level role tackling problems from the very outset of education
  • Appointing an NHS Workplace Wellbeing Leader – somebody able to listen and address staff issues and concerns
  • Assess the information available about careers within the NHS
  • Clearly identify potential career pathways and routes.

‘The NHS is founded on a common set of principles and values that bind together the communities and people it serves,’ Health Education England says.

‘If we are caring and compassionate, we should be able to demonstrate those values as employers.

‘There are 1.4 million people in the NHS workforce.

‘We deploy many to frontline healthcare and should want to be an exemplar when it comes to the support of these people.

‘There is sufficient evidence which shows the NHS can do much better.’

Time for action

The British Dental Association (BDA) has welcomed the recommendations, saying they support similar surveys undertaken by other health associations.

Research by the BDA shows almost half of dentists say stress in their job is exceeding their ability to cope.

The most stressful aspects of dental work are related to regulation and fear of litigation, and pressures.

‘It is refreshing to see officials waking up to the weight of evidence on stress and burnout in this profession,’ BDA chair, Mick Armstrong, said.

‘The logic of this report is sound.

‘No dentist or dental student should suffer for the work they do for the NHS.

‘Now we will need to see these principles joined with action.

‘There are dentists out there in desperate need of support.

‘They deserve access to services currently offered to our medical colleagues.

‘We know the drivers fuelling this epidemic of burnout.

‘We will need to see an approach founded on prevention, and not just cure.’

Fears

Nine out of 10 (89%) dentists fear patients suing them, figures from Dental Protection show.

Of those, 74% feel that this fear is impacting on the way they practise dentistry.

Of those that fear patients suing them, 64% have made more referrals as a result.

‘Dentists work in an increasingly challenging environment,’ Raj Rattan, dental director at Dental Protection, said.

‘It is worrying that three out of four full-time general dental practitioners fear patients suing them.

‘Understandably this will undoubtedly impact on the way they practise and add to already high stress levels.

‘Without proper consent and comprehensive, well-organised records, a dentist is disadvantaged in defending any allegations.

‘Inadequate clinical records will make the case less defensible and often compromise the final outcome.’


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