The Health and Social Care Information Centre has published statistics on the motivation and morale of dentists in the UK. While almost half of dentists in England and Wales describe themselves as motivated or highly motivated, less than a third described their morale as high or very high.
There was a sharp geographical difference across the different countries in the UK, with morale and motivation for Providing-Performer dentists in Northern Ireland very low compared to England, Scotland and Wales.
The report creates a “motivation index” calculated for each dentist based on their answers to motivational questions. This index is affected by a range of working conditions including hours of weekly work, proportion of time dedicated to NHS and clinical work, annual leave and age.
Across the two groups – Provider-Performer dentists and Performer Only dentists - the proportion of time dedicated to NHS dentistry has a negative relationship with the average “motivation index”. In other words, switching from private to NHS work statistically makes a dentist less motivated.
Questions of pay proved the most emotive for dentists in regards to motivation and morale.
Morale in dentists exhibits similar trends when compared to the average ‘motivation index’. However, Providing-Performer dentists who report ‘very high’ morale show higher average weekly hours of work and a greater NHS commitment as well as less annual leave than might be expected.
Overall, the report concludes that dentists are no more or less motivated than last year, and their morale certainly has not improved much.
The authors of the report also note numerous similarities with the BDA’s Business Trends Survey which asked similar questions to this report.