Mental health of Welsh dentists worsens

THE mental health of dentists in Wales further declined towards the end of 2021, as increasing admin tasks forced most clinicians to work without proper breaks.

A survey by the British Dental Association (BDA) found almost two-thirds of dentists (64 per cent) were not sleeping well and more than 80 per cent went to work in the NHS mentally unwell. Almost half of those had gone to work feeling unwell for more than 10 days.

The BDA asked dentists questions about their experiences working from May to October 2021.

Almost half (49 per cent) described the period as "extremely stressful" or "very stressful" (32 per cent), while 93.6 per cent said stress levels had increased.

Nearly all dentists (98 per cent) reported an increase in administrative tasks which added to stress levels, with 92 per cent unable to take proper breaks in their working day.

The majority of dentists (82 per cent) said they planned to reduce working hours in the NHS over the next three years, while 71 per cent are considering their career options – many outside dentistry. Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) are considering early retirement.

The BDA presented the results to Welsh dental leaders and made recommendations to:

  • address the rise in administrative tasks
  • ensure continued support from the mental health support service, Canopi 
  • consider measures to make NHS dentistry in Wales more attractive. 

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