NHS confidence monitor
  • Patient care
  • Remuneration
  • Working hours
  • Work/life balance
  • Managing patient expectations
  • Job satisfaction
  • Stress levels.

The NHS Confidence Monitor survey has been running since 2014 monitoring confidence levels in the future of NHS dentistry. Over the last two surveys, it has evolved to include private dentists and questions on happiness levels, providing a more detailed picture of what it’s like to work in dentistry today. This survey asked how happy both NHS and private dentists are across seven areas of working life:

They were also asked how they felt about other topics, including:

  • Adhering to GDC standards
  • The risk of complaints/litigation
  • NHS dentistry as a core service.

Q. Do you see yourself operating within the NHS in five years’ time?

NHS dentistry faces a growing threat of mass exodus

Q. If you’re thinking of leaving the NHS, what are you planning to do?

*264 respondents

More than three quarters of NHS dentists who took part in the survey don't see themselves still operating within the NHS in five years' time.

private patient expectations

Private dentistry paints 

a much happier picture

Dentists working within the NHS are significantly
more unhappy than those working in private dentistry.

Q. When thinking about working within the NHS, how happy are you that you...

Q. Compared to when you were working in the NHS, how happy are you that you...

This trend continued across all seven areas of working life we asked about, see the full set of results here.




   The ability of private sector practitioners to self-determine and control such aspects of an individual's working life as treatments offered and personal targets to be achieved, linked to fee-setting abilities obviously allows a better work/life balance and improved income all leading to a more satisfying career.  

David Houston | Dentist and Practice Owner

A difficult balancing
act for NHS dentists

85% of NHS dentists said they found it difficult or very difficult to balance professionalism with the highest standards of excellence while working within the NHS.

Q The NHS aspires to the highest standards of excellence
and professionalism. How easy do you find it to balance professionalism and working within an NHS contract?

 At the back of a dentist's mind when they develop a treatment plan is the number of UDAs that will be achieved - will there be enough to allow treatment decisions and this is most acute between January and March when it becomes clear what needs to be done to achieve the contractual target.  

Joe Hendron | NHS Dentist

Are you one of the 48% of dentists who is planning to move to private dentistry but aren't sure where to start with planning your transition?

how to guide

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your future

Download any or all of the adjacent PDFs to see the results from our past surveys, which asked professionals about their confidence in the future of NHS dentistry.

View the previous survey results

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