The latest results are another damning indication of the low levels of morale for those working within the dental profession. Practice managers are a little more optimistic, but this will include some who do not have the full picture from a financial point of view. Particularly of note is the fact that so few of us would now recommend the profession to others as a career choice and I am one of the majority.
This is a high indicator of not just low morale, but poor career prospects for the younger of us, reduced remuneration and increased uncertainty, especially on the NHS side of the fence. Add in the red tape, UDAs, increased patient expectations (but for less cost to them), NHS Choices (Tripadvisor?), FFT, seven day NHS, and a regulator who still have not improved their own performance.
With a possible global economic crisis on the horizon, those of us reliant on mixed practice, using their private revenue to cross subsidise a badly underfunded NHS contract, have more uncertainty.
Results in Scotland are almost as bad, indicating that it is not just the current GDS contract (England and Wales) and UDAs that are the problem. Compared with 12 months ago, virtually all feel worse off and confidence in the NHS is reduced in all sections of this survey. There seems to be no improvement, present or future, in remuneration, regulation, red tape or prospects within the NHS.
Results in Scotland are almost as bad, indicating that it is not just the current GDS contract (England and Wales) and UDAs that are the problem.
The intended retirement age survey is also interesting and I am discussing this from a ‘NHS’ viewpoint. It does not indicate what proportion of respondents are unaffected by the changes to our pensionable age. Those who are unaffected will most likely retire at or before 60, and the new reduced LTA will encourage them to go sooner. For the rest of us it seems to indicate that we do not want to work to (in my case 67 and I’m 51) our SPA.
I can only assume that most of us are making other plans, be it private pension or savings schemes, or simply do not intend to continue in the profession at that point, preferring to do something else? There has been recent data released on life expectancy. It seems the increase in life expectancy has peaked. I can expect to work longer, pay more, then receive less, both financially and in probable enjoyable ‘healthy’ retirement. I can’t see the point of flogging myself to 67 (particularly in the current working climate of NHS dentistry) and I’m sure many more are of the same opinion.
To read the full results of the Third NHS Confidence Monitor, click here.
Claire has been working in dentistry since she qualified in 1988. She is now the owner and practising dentist of a mixed practice.