unhappinessHappiness amongst NHS dentists is dropping to new lows, according to the 2018 NHS Confidence Monitor survey from Practice Plan.

Across all the seven happiness questions, 86% of NHS dentists described themselves as ‘unhappy’ or ‘very unhappy’.

Worryingly, 95% of NHS dentists said they were ‘unhappy’ or ‘very unhappy’ when asked whether they are fairly remunerated.

‘These survey results are worrying in the sense that they are consistent with other reputable surveys like the BDA’s, but also show a worsening trend,’ Tony Kilcoyne, private dentist, said.

‘Eighty six percent of the dental profession don’t see their future within the NHS system in the next five years.

‘Those who have reduced their dependence upon the NHS actually increased their happiness and job satisfaction hugely.’

Private dentistry more positive

The survey also showed happiness levels in private dentistry was polar opposite to NHS dentistry.

Across all seven happiness questions, 83% of private dentists describe themselves as ‘happy’ or ‘very happy’.

With 92% of private dentists ‘happy’ or ‘very happy’ with the level of care they can provide.

‘The ability of private sector practitioners to self-determine and control treatments offered and personal targets, obviously allows a better work/life balance and an improved income all leading to a more satisfying career,’ David Houston, owner of the Houston Group of dental practices, said.

‘Nevertheless, as not everybody can work in the private sector, the scale of the dissatisfaction for so many members of the profession must be a cause of considerable and serious concern to those with the ability to influence and address such unhappiness.’


If you would like to have your say on working within dentistry, the 2019 survey is now just six days away from launching.

The NHS Confidence Monitor survey has evolved and grown into the Dentistry Confidence Monitor survey, taking a wider view of the dental market and the challenges faced by those working in NHS and private dentistry.

It includes questions on the GDC, recruitment and mental health, along with the potential impact of the reformed NHS contract.

Visit dentistry.co.uk to take part from 1 April to add your voice to the debate.