Patients were understanding during COVID-19 pandemic, dentists say

The majority of patients have been understanding of new ways of working within dental practices when it comes to the COVID-19 pandemicThe majority of patients have been understanding about new ways of working within dental practices.

This is according to new research undertaken by the DDU.

Out of 538 dental participants, 95% report patients are understanding towards changes relating to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Change to working ways

Additionally, many believe new ways of working will stay in place once the pandemic is over. For example, 55% believed remote consultations will remain after the end of the pandemic.

A further 59% also reported that it was easy to stay up-to-date with dental-related guidance and regulations.

However, 60% of respondents reported concerns over facing a complaint, claim or GDC investigation in relation to the current circumstances.

Dramatic changes

Leo Briggs, deputy head of the DDU, welcomed the news that patients were sensitive to the circumstances.

‘Dental professionals are used to dealing with stressful, high pressure situations,’ he said.

‘Nevertheless, the pandemic has heightened some existing challenges while presenting many new ones.

‘Working practices have dramatically changed during the pandemic and it is good that the majority of patients have been understanding. However, it’s clear that dental professionals are concerned about the risk of a future complaint or claim as a result of treatment undertaken or postponed during the pandemic.’

Varied satisfaction

This comes as other research shows lower satisfaction rates among dental patients of ethnic minority backgrounds.

A report carried out by the General Dental Council (GDC) found that although satisfaction with dental care was high (96%), it was dramatically lower amongst ethnic minority patients (91%).

For example, black patients are least pleased with dental care and treatment, with a satisfaction rate of just 83%.

Additionally, the report exposed a drop in public confidence over the delivery of dental care. In 2018, it stood at 83%, but this now stands at 79%.

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