Tracking happiness levels 
in NHS dentistry

Over 400 NHS and private dentists were asked how happy they feel on seven areas of working life:

What was asked

  • managing patient expectations
  • job satisfaction
  • stress levels

  • patient care
  • remuneration
  • working hours 
  • and work/life balance

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

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

The results show a divided dental profession, with those dentists working in the NHS being significantly unhappier than their counterparts operating in private care.

NHS dentists dramatically more unhappy than private


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

Compared to 89% of NHS dentists who feel unhappy with the level of stress to carry out the work they do. 

…are able to carry out your work
without feeling overly stressed?

Responses from Private Dentists

Compared to 91% of NHS dentists who feel unhappy with the level of remuneration they receive for the work they do.

…are fairly remunerated for the work you do?

question 3
question 6

Professional opinion

We’ve shared the results with some of the ground-level dentists and key players within

the profession to gain their thoughts on the results of the latest survey.

Tony Kilcoyne

"I think (NHS) dentists struggle with trying to treat everyone
equally and to the best of their abilities, whilst being stuck in
a system that has limitations. They’re working in adversarial circumstances where if they put a slight foot wrong, they get
hit with a sledgehammer rather than any help. This massively
increases stress, unhappiness, and disenchantment,
which inevitably has a knock-on effect in patient care."

Petros Mylonas

"When I switched from the NHS to the private sector a few years ago it was about control – how much time I spend with patients, how I get remunerated. I have more freedom, and, so far,
I’ve not had a complaint because I can talk to my patients. Everyone I know who has had an issue with patient complaints,
it has been down to communication problems or issues."


NHS Insights Panel

Eddie Crouch, Paul Worskett, Simon Thackeray, Petros Mylonas, Jasmine Lobo, David Houston and Dhru Shah came together to discuss the latest results from the 

NHS Confidence Monitor. 

Well-known faces joined by representatives of the new generation of dentists on this year's panel generated a lively and interesting debate about what the future of dentistry might look like in light of these results.

If you are one of the 70% download 

our free – no obligation ‘how to’ guide

how to guide

The results showed that 70% of NHS dentists plan to leave the NHS within the next 5 years

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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