Concern over Covid-19 backlog as one in three dentists report being unable to clear backlog of patients

One in three dentists are struggling to clear the backlog of patients caused by the pandemic, the findings of a new survey reveal.

The dental defence organisation, MDDUS, surveyed almost 2,000 of its members to investigate how healthcare professionals’ experiences in the workplace had changed between the first and second year of the pandemic.

Three quarters of dentists said the backlog from the pandemic has led to delays in treatment and complaints from patients.

And almost half of dentists are more concerned about the risk of patient complaints or legal action than they were in 2020.

Stephen Henderson, head of the dental division at MDDUS, said: “Dentists can’t clear the backlog of patients and this is leading to complaints.

“Dentists and their teams are facing verbal abuse from increasing numbers of patients when trying to manage appointments and treatment choices.

“They’ve told us that dealing with the backlog is making them consider taking on fewer NHS patients or exiting the profession altogether.

“These pressures are having a significant adverse effect on the mental health and wellbeing of dentists and their teams.

“Dentists urgently need support from policymakers, not least to reform NHS contracts, as they work through waiting lists that built up during Covid-19.

“The impact these pressures are having on dentists will only get worse if measures aren’t taken to improve access to NHS dentistry.”


The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland (MDDUS) is a mutual organisation that protects the professional interests of more than 54,000 doctors and dentists across the United Kingdom, offering access to indemnity, support and legal advice.

For further information please contact Alison Hardie, head of public affairs and strategic communications, on or on 07501 421398.

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