Is NHS dentistry collapsing – or has that become a narrative?

‘It’s not all doom and gloom’: Del Kahya addresses the ‘skewed perception’ of NHS dentistry and why it’s important to promote balanced discussions.

It’s understandable that there are concerns about the perception of NHS dentistry and the impact it has on recruiting new dentists. However, it’s important to note that the views expressed here are based on a generalised perspective and may not apply to every individual or practice.

Let’s break down the issues mentioned:

  1. Unhappiness among associates: It’s true that some associates in NHS practices may feel unhappy. This can be due to various reasons such as unrealistic targets, lack of support, or other workplace challenges. Unhappiness can lead to negative perceptions being spread, which in turn may discourage potential recruits
  2. Importance of NHS dentistry: NHS dentistry plays a vital role in providing affordable dental care to a large population. It is often considered the ‘bread and butter’ of dentistry because it ensures a consistent patient flow and income for practices. Private practices, on the other hand, may face fluctuations in patient numbers and income
  3. Recruitment challenges: The negative perceptions surrounding NHS dentistry can make it more difficult for practices to find dentists willing to work in the NHS. The shortage of recruits can further perpetuate the cycle of unrealistic targets and inadequate support for existing associates.

Job satisfaction in NHS dentistry

It’s crucial to address the issues faced by associates in NHS practices to improve job satisfaction and attract new graduates. This can be achieved through better communication between principals and associates, providing appropriate support and mentorship, and setting realistic targets.

Additionally, highlighting the benefits and rewards of working in the NHS, such as the opportunity to serve a diverse patient base, can help attract more dentists to these practices.

It’s also important to remember that individual experiences may vary. There are undoubtedly many happy and satisfied associates in NHS practices. It’s just that unhappy individuals are more likely to vocalise their concerns, leading to a skewed perception of the overall situation.

It’s not all doom and gloom

We raise an interesting point about the perception of NHS dentistry. While it’s true that there can be negative narratives and complaints surrounding the state of NHS dentistry, it’s important to recognise that it’s not all doom and gloom. Many dentists within the NHS work diligently to provide quality dental care to their patients.

Like any healthcare system, the NHS dental service faces various challenges, including high patient demand, limited resources, and time constraints. These factors can sometimes result in longer waiting times for appointments and a perceived lack of personalised care.

However, it’s crucial to understand that the vast majority of NHS dentists are committed professionals who strive to deliver the best care possible within the constraints they face.

Don’t ignore the positives

It’s also important to promote a balanced perspective when discussing NHS dentistry. While acknowledging the challenges, we should also highlight the positive aspects and the efforts of dedicated dental professionals. Initiatives are being undertaken to improve access to care, increase funding, and address the issues faced by both dentists and patients.

The impact on my role as a business developer, recruitment, and training manager in both private and NHS practices has been significant. It can be disheartening to see practices that have implemented effective systems and created a positive work environment still struggle to attract new associates.

By encouraging constructive discussions and focusing on solutions, we can help move away from stigmatising NHS dentistry and work towards improving the overall dental healthcare system.

Do you have hope for NHS dentistry? Email your thoughts to [email protected].

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