The 2019 Dentistry Confidence Monitor has been published and confidence in the national dental regulator, the General Dental Council, is at an all time low according to respondents. 

The Confidence Monitor survey was first established in 2014 to monitor the confidence levels of dental professionals in the future of NHS dentistry. Since then it has evolved to focus on a wider range of issues across both NHS and private dentistry including:

  • Mental health issues
  • Contract reform
  • The GDC

In 2019 the monitor received 420 responses from dentists from different backgrounds across the UK.

The GDC – Lack of confidence in the GDC

The monitor reported that less than 10% of all dentists were confident that the GDC would handle a complaint about them appropriately. 

One respondent has been reported to have said: “The GDC has completely lost the confidence of the whole profession over the last 10 years. Over regulating, ridiculously expensive and with no understanding of the real challenges faced by hardworking dentists on a day-to-day basis.” 

91% of NHS dentists and 92% of private dentists reported that they were either unconfident or very unconfident in the GDC’s ability to handle a complaint about them appropriately. 

The main remit of the GDC is to protect the public. But only 24% of NHS dentists and 25% of private dentists are confident or very confident it is fulfilling this role.  Part of the reason is down to many dentists feeling the regulator is just punishing them, rather than making sure they’re practising safe dentistry according to 

Dentist’s mental health – Is dentists’ mental health at risk?

The 2019 monitor also asked about dentist’s state of mental health.  The headline figures in relation to this: 

  • 84% of NHS dentists believe their current role has negatively affected their mental health,
  • 51% of private dentists said the same.86% of NHS dentists are anxious or very anxious over their ability to meet GDC standards. This compares to 48% of private dentists.
  • 72% of dentists reported that they did not know where to go or who to turn to for support when feeling stressed and/or when their mental health was suffering.

The Future – Uncertainty about the future

When asked about the proposed new NHS contract’s profitability and workload, 61% of dentists reported that they anticipate increased workloads and 73% of respondent dentists said the new NHS contract will result in decreased profitability.

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