2024 Dentistry Census: key findings

2024 Dentistry Census: key findingsHow do your earnings compare to the average? What do your peers really think about the health service? Find out in the Dentistry Census white paper – available now!

The white paper report from the 2024 Dentistry Census is now ready to read in full! And the findings from the biggest survey in the dental profession make for some interesting reading.

The 2024 Dentistry Census tracks facts, figures and feelings across every aspect of the profession, leaving practically no question about modern practice unanswered.

How do your earnings match up to your peers? Is your practice spending more on consumables than the average? The answers are here – along with respondents’ true feelings on the NHS and the future of their working lives.

Last year, Dentistry carried out the most comprehensive survey of dentistry in the UK ever seen. The work was sponsored by Denplan and backed by the thousands of UK professionals who took the time to complete the survey.

Now, we can reveal our snapshot of the UK dental profession in 2024.

Download the report now!

Read the 2024 Dentistry Census white paper in full – visit www.dentistry.co.uk/census.

What did we learn?

Our second Census shows some movement in the years since the first survey:

  • Practice profits have dropped by around 5% – despite a modest average increase in turnover – thanks to ballooning energy bills, interest rates and consumable costs
  • Salaries are creeping up – but not fast enough, with 25% of nurses still earning under £25k per annum (compared to 88% in 2021)
  • Average spend on consumables has rocketed by 26%

However, there are some positive trends showing through in the data:

  • Patient interest in dental implants has gone up by 30% since 2021
  • 68% of respondents feel they have support for their mental health if they need it – up from 49% in 2021
  • 85% of practice owners or principals expect their levels of private work to increase in the next year.

NHS in crisis

What did the Dentistry Census reveal about the NHS?

  • The NHS needs urgent reform – 90% of respondents believe failure to do so is damaging the UK’s health
  • Engagement with the health service is declining – just 44% of dentists now report working in the NHS, compared to 61% in 2021
  • Discontent is high – 74% of NHS dentists do NOT enjoy working in the NHS
  • But there is hope – 59% of NHS dentists say that contract reform would make the service more attractive to them as clinicians.

Passion and confidence

Guy Hiscott, content director at FMC, said: ‘There are some findings in this report that are concerning… while being unsurprising. The fact that 90% of all dental professionals believe failure to reform the NHS is damaging patients’ health is as unexpected as it should be shocking. Sadly, this a narrative we’re only too familiar with by now. And while the dental recovery plan suggests the government is waking up to the problems, it may not be enough. Our survey  shows just how deep the dissatisfaction goes.

‘But there’s much more in the Dentistry Census than these findings.

‘Because if the fate of NHS general dental services remains unclear, what is evident is that practices are adapting to an ever-changing world on their own terms. We’re seeing growing investment in practices that is a clear demonstration of a dental profession shaping its own future – and with an increase in treatment uptake across the board, a patient base ready to walk with them on that journey.

‘This is cold comfort for the patients left high and dry by successive governments’ neglect of the health service, but it speaks volumes for the resilience, dedication and passion of the army of skilled professionals in UK dentistry.

‘We need to do more to support them, that much is clear – around a third of respondents struggle with work/life balance and the quarter of dentists who regularly feel insecure is a quarter too many, to highlight just a few areas where work needs to be done.

‘But I and the FMC team hope that this survey is one step towards doing that. With knowledge comes confidence, and armed with the insights in this survey I hope we can help practices and clinicians to look forwards with conviction.’

Driving conversations forward

Catherine Rutland, clinical director at Denplan, part of Simplyhealth added: ‘The latest Dentistry Census offers true insight into the feelings and attitudes of the sector.

‘While the dental recovery plan has now been shared, we still know there is a long way to go to really address the issues facing the sector. This data demonstrates the collective feelings of the industry and as we head towards a general election, we have an opportunity to really champion change.

‘At Denplan, we truly believe that adopting a mixed model approach, enabling flexibility between providing NHS and private service will support better access for patients and improved working for professionals and are committed to driving this conversation forward.’

About the Dentistry Census

The 2024 Dentistry Census was conducted from April to August 2023, using the web platform Surveymonkey to collect data.

We received 2,992 responses from across the UK dental profession, asking respondents to self-report on a number of areas relating to their professional lives, ranging from key practice data to a snapshot of their personal feelings on a number of key issues. Key areas covered included:

  • Salary data and practice financials
  • Job satisfaction
  • Opinions on the NHS dental contract
  • Sustainability in dental practices
  • Feelings on dental regulation
  • Plans for the future.

To view the full Dentistry Census white paper, visit www.dentistry.co.uk/census.

Follow Dentistry.co.uk on Instagram to keep up with all the latest dental news and trends.

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