Being an NHS dentist, is it really worth it?

nhs dentistWondering whether to go private or NHS? Bethany Rushworth gives a realistic insight into what life is like working as an NHS dentist.

Whilst it may be easy to complain about working in the NHS system, there are certainly many perks. You should consider these perks if contemplating a transition to private practice.

Since graduating I have worked in an NHS practice, a dental hospital and a fully private practice. I’ve also worked as a mixed NHS/private dental nurse throughout my years at dental school. I regularly hear dental students and newly qualified dentists stating how the ‘end goal’ is to be a private dentist. But is it all it’s cracked up to be?

In this series of three articles I will discuss my opinions on the key advantages and disadvantages of each setting. We’ll also discuss things to consider when choosing the right path for you.

Shocking UDAs

Starting out as a foundation dentist, I really enjoyed having a salary, no targets and most importantly, time. I struggled to understand some of the pressures and stresses I had previously heard associate dentists complain about.

It was around six months into my first job, when I calculated how many UDAs I would have earned as an associate. I was working 9 to 5, five days a week and had earnt 1,200 UDAs.

I felt slightly concerned and shocked about what this meant for me following my foundation training year. All of the jobs I had been looking at were for thousands of UDAs, part time! I liked my 30-minute exams. I liked having nine hours to do a root canal treatment if I wanted it and it was enjoyable whilst an…

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