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By Wesleyan

A fifth of dentists plan on converting to private work

2 min
Female dentist in mask treating patient
  • A fifth (21%) of dentists’ plan on increasing the amount of private work they do within the next two years – with the youngest professionals most likely to pivot their practice.

According to research by Wesleyan Financial Services, a fifth of dentists plan on increasing the amount of private work they do within the next two years. This includes switching their current NHS workload to private practice.

After a difficult two years for the sector, the data also found that 27% of dentists plan to reduce their hours, while 11% plan on leaving the profession altogether to pursue new opportunities.

Even more worryingly, the research revealed that many dentists don’t understand how making these changes will affect their pension pot and retirement plans.

More than 25% haven’t considered how changing their working pattern will affect their pension, while 30% have no plans in place to combat the long-term financial impact these changes may have in later life.

Reasons cited for reducing working hours, converting to private work or leaving the profession entirely include stress, burnout, contractual pressures, unrealistic NHS targets and the desire for early retirement.

As Iain Stevenson, Head of Dental at Wesleyan, comments: “Data suggests that on top of the resignations we’ve already seen, even more dentists will be leaving the profession, or opting to do more private work in the coming years.

“This will further impact those seeking treatment, but it isn’t a black and white issue. Many dentists are being driven to change their work by what has been a challenging two years for the profession.

“The pandemic has exacerbated issues including stress and burnout, while dentists in England have had to grapple with what many have seen as unachievable NHS activity targets and a dental contract that’s considered no longer fit for purpose.

“Put simply, what the profession needs now is reform and further help from the government to make the NHS model more effective. This will make NHS dentistry a more viable option for professionals and ensure that patients can access the affordable and critical care that they need.”

Findings are based on consumer research of 363 dentists, conducted by FMC on behalf of Wesleyan Financial Services between the 12th of March and the 3rd of May 2022.

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