Burnout causing half of dentists to consider leaving dentistry

dentist at risk of burnoutHalf of dentists (50%) have considered leaving dentistry for reasons of personal wellbeing, according to a Dental Protection survey.

In its report, Breaking the burnout cycle, the indemnity provider warned that burnout impacts dentists, the team and patients.

Dental Protection is calling on dental organisations to establish a ‘wellbeing guardian’ for exhausted dentists to talk to.

‘Dentistry can be a very rewarding profession,’ Raj Rattan, dental director at Dental Protection, said.

‘However, when I talk to dentists throughout UK, it is clear that morale is low.

‘Well-being issues are rising up the professional agenda.

‘Dentists experiencing burnout are likely to be more error-prone, which can compromise the quality of care provided for their patients or deliver substandard care at work.

‘They are less empathic, less able cognitively and this behaviour has negative impacts on colleagues, teams and the organisation.’

Burnout indicators

Half of dentists surveyed (50%) in Breaking the burnout cycle experience dissatisfaction with their work/life balance.

Also, 60% of those surveyed say it is difficult for them to take a short break from work.

Dental Protection therefore believes key performance indicators should now include dentists’ wellbeing.

‘We encourage dentists to reduce their exposure to burnout by reviewing the working environment and workload and adopting a proactive approach to developing resilience to reduce the risk and its consequences,’ Dr Rattan continues.

‘We could also go further and consider the significant impact of the underlying systemic factors that contribute to burnout.

‘Efforts to minimise the harmful effects of burnout will only bear fruit when we address these underlying causes.

‘We believe that if our recommendations are taken seriously it will help to mitigate the personal and professional risks in the profession.’

‘Fear of litigation’

The fear of litigation causes stress and anxiety to 77% of dental professionals, a previous Dental Protection survey showed.

Dental Protection claims studies have shown healthcare professionals often don’t seek help when they find themselves in such circumstances.

‘The bureaucracy with CQC, GDC, NHS, and the constant fear of litigation,’ an anonymous Dental Protection member said.

‘They are therefore making this profession difficult to perform and enjoy and add to the burnout feeling.

‘No other profession seems to have the same regulation and punishment as dentistry.’