confidenceMany dentists lack confidence in the future of NHS dentistry, results from the 2018 NHS Confidence Monitor show.

The survey, conducted by Practice Plan, shows only a quarter of NHS dentists believe dentistry has a long-term future within the NHS.

Confidence amongst private dentists is only slightly higher, with 28% believing it has a long-term future.

‘The recruitment crisis has been continually denied by NHS England,’ Joe Hendron, NHS practice owner, said.

‘Yet look at the number of job vacancies in east Yorkshire.

‘Look at the number of contracts that are being handed back, including some inner-city practices, because they are unable to recruit new dentists.

‘Brexit and the scaremongering associated with it is also going to be a challenge to NHS dentistry.

‘We hear that European dentists are returning to their home countries – we need reassurance now that our foreign workforce can be confident that they have a good future working in the UK.’

Balancing an NHS contract

Only 15% of dentists find it easy to balance professionalism and working within an NHS contract.

The majority of respondents said they find it difficult (43%) or very difficult (42%) to balance working within the NHS.

‘I also believe the profession will struggle to recruit the next generation of dentists,’ Dev Patel, practice owner, said.

‘The stress of targets and the anxiety surrounding the threat of complaints and litigation is causing young dentists to practise defensive dentistry.

‘This puts them off undertaking complex treatment, which at times may be best for the patient.

‘A lot of young dentists are also against the idea of being forced to hit UDA targets as a way of remuneration and are moving towards private dentistry as an alternative.’

Recruitment crisis

Thousands of patients are unable to see an NHS dentist due to a recruitment crisis, recent reports show.

Mydentist, with more than 650 practices around the UK, admits that it is struggling to fill vacancies in its practices.

This has led to many patients having treatments cancelled at the last minute and having to find another practice.

‘We support over 4m patients each year with the full range of dental treatments and continue to do so across our practices,’ Tom Riall, CEO at IDH Group, which runs Mydentist, said to the Daily Mail.

‘In a small number of areas however we, like many other dental practices, are struggling to recruit enough dentists.

‘We are doing everything we can to minimise the impact of this and to continue providing high-quality, timely care to all of our patients.

‘Last year, 68% of the UK’s dental practices that tried to recruit struggled to do so, and this problem is only going to get worse unless this issue is addressed.’


If you would like to have your say on working within dentistry, the 2019 survey is now just four 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.