Fear of being sued causes stress and anxiety in eight out of 10 dentists
Results of the survey are being released to coincide with Stress Awareness Month this April.
Dental Protection claims studies have shown healthcare professionals often don’t seek help when they find themselves in such circumstances.
‘Stress can impact on a dentist’s health and practice in a number of ways,’ Raj Rattan, dental director at Dental Protection, says.
‘It can affect confidence, clinical judgement, morale and even lead to performance issues.
‘Research confirms that high stress levels affect performance and increase the potential for adverse outcomes of error.
‘These may in turn spark patient complaints and claims and a self-perpetuating vicious circle is established.
‘Sustained periods of stress with poor coping strategies can lead to burnout.’
Stress Awareness Month
Stress Awareness Month is held every year in April to increase awareness about the causes and cures for stress.
The Mental Health Foundation claims 74% of adults felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt unable to cope.
Dental Protection offers a counselling service for members experiencing stress due to receiving a complaint.
‘Modern life is full of challenges, stressors and pressures – and the dental profession is no exception,’ Mr Rattan continues.
‘During Stress Awareness Month, Dental Protection would like to encourage dentists to seek help and advice to manage the condition.
‘Before it causes irreversible changes to health and well-being.’
Health Education England (HEE) recently made recommendations for sweeping action on stress across healthcare professions.
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.’