Tracking confidence in the future of NHS dentistry


The results of the latest NHS Confidence Monitor survey provide a snapshot of the mood within the profession and highlight a significant drop in confidence levels.

NHS Dentistry Inights - Powered by Practice Plan

About the NHS Confidence Monitor

The surveys are designed to track confidence levels of the profession in the future of NHS dentistry; the number of people taking part is growing with each survey.

Further Insights

Carried out every six months, this current survey is the third in the series. The first was carried out at the end of 2014 and the second in the summer of 2015.

After each survey, a group of key opinion leaders are brought together to discuss the results to provide wider insight.

Interest is growing

Third in the series


Almost 600 dental professionals rated their confidence levels across these key statements:

  • Overall confidence in the future of NHS dentistry 
  • Their future career prospects
  • Getting the balance of treatment vs. prevention right
  • Remuneration levels
  • The ability for the team to work effectively within the NHS
  • If patients will be happy with the level of care provided.

  •             If you would recommend a friend to the profession.
  •             At what age would you retire.

Unsurprisingly, the results of this latest NHS Confidence Monitor reiterate the findings of earlier surveys. They show a real lack of confidence in the future of NHS dentistry and the ability of the Government to introduce a contract which offers the right balance of treatment versus prevention.  

The latest results


Sample survey results

Explore the results with the third Insights Panel

Following the release of the results of the third NHS Confidence Monitor, a group of key opinion leaders consisting of Eddie Crouch, David Houston, Judith Husband, Andrew Lockhart-Mirams, Petros Mylonas and Paul Worskett met to discuss them in greater depth.

"This Monitor could be thought of as depressing.  Or, you could take it as an indication that the profession needs to start to rediscover itself. It needs to rediscover its professional pride. It needs to start to get real with what the Government is really trying to do. It needs to be realistic about the chances of the Government really investing in dentistry in any other way other than patients just walking through the door. Minimal firefighting of the massive problems is simply never going to work."

Read Chas' full 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.

"The latest results are another damning indication of the low levels of morale for those working within the dental profession. Practice managers are a little more optimistic, but this will include some who do not have the full picture from a financial point of view. Particularly of note is the fact that so few of us would now recommend the profession to others as a career choice and I am one of the majority."

Read Claire's full opinion


"One of the most telling results though for me is that over 70% of the profession wouldn’t recommend dentistry as a career to family or friends. I personally think that is the TRUE indicator of the morale within the profession. We can argue the system is wrong (and 91% have), but there are alternatives out there such as private practice, but to actively discourage people from entering in the first place is far more serious to me than a system being wrong."

Read Simon's full opinion

Claire Roberts

Jane LeLean


Chas Lister

"The really damning statistic from this survey is the 70% of respondents who will not be recommending dentistry as a profession to friends and family. What happened to the profession that people used to look up to and admire, and aspire to?"

Read Sheila's full opinion

Professional opinion

Sheila Scott

Dental Business Consultant

"I don’t think that dentists would recommend the career to friends or family members because most of them are tired, overwhelmed, feel that they can’t offer the most appropriate care to patients, are fearful of litigation, work long hours, are doing difficult work and are under remunerated."

Read Jane's full opinion

Dental Business Coach 

"There has been much talk about the proposed future of NHS dentistry but very little explained officially from the people at the top. I suspect associates are feeling the most uncertain about their futures in NHS dentistry, with therapists, hygienists and nurses all taking up much larger roles in the new system."

Read David's full opinion

David Bretton 

Simon Thackeray



Have your say on the latest survey!

Why you should take part:

  1. Add your opinion to the debate
  2. Ensure the voice of the profession is heard
  3. Be a part of the discussion.

Takes less than 3 mins to complete

Even if you’ve responded on previous surveys, we still want to track your confidence, so don’t miss your chance to get involved!

Grab your copy of the most recent results.

You can also take a look back at past surveys and see how opinion has changed.

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