GDC reveals continuing impact of COVID-19 on UK dentistry


LONDON, UK: Because the statutory regulator for all dental professionals throughout the UK, the Common Dental Council’s (GDC’s) major intention is to maximise affected person security and promote confidence within the provision of dental companies. Just lately, the GDC revealed a pair of surveys that measured the affect of COVID-19 in 2021 on dentists and dental sufferers, respectively. The findings of those surveys point out that, although UK dentistry has begun to return to regular, main hurdles nonetheless exist throughout a variety of areas.

The GDC commenced analysis on the impacts of COVID-19 on oral well being and dentistry again in August 2020, the key findings of which it revealed in December that very same 12 months. This second set of surveys was performed in the identical interval in 2021 and, based on the regulator, aimed to seize how the perceptions of dental professionals and most people in direction of dentistry had continued to evolve all through the pandemic.

To raised perceive the affect of COVID-19 on dental professionals in 2021, the GDC commissioned Pye Tait Consulting to conduct a web-based survey of two,168 respondents, six focus teams with 39 complete contributors and 5 additional in-depth cellphone interviews. One of many key findings of its analysis was that the well-being of UK dental professionals is markedly decrease than that of the overall inhabitants. Based mostly on dental professionals’ ranking of their happiness on a scale of 0 (by no means comfortable) to 10 (fully comfortable), the imply common happiness rating was discovered to be 5.2. The common nervousness rating on a scale of 0 (by no means anxious) to 10 (fully anxious) was 5.6. As compared, a survey performed by the Workplace of Nationwide Statistics discovered that the common happiness rating within the UK in 2020/2021 was 7.31 and the common nervousness rating was simply 3.31.

From a monetary perspective, the consequences of the pandemic continued to be felt by many dental practices: 69% of respondents stated that their earnings had decreased in contrast with pre-pandemic ranges, considerably greater proportions of Nationwide Well being Service or blended public–personal dental practices reporting decreased incomes than these working purely in personal dentistry (78% in contrast with 63%). As well as, roughly 35% acknowledged that they believed their earnings would stay decrease than pre-pandemic ranges over the following 12 months.

Sufferers proceed to face problems with entry

“Dental professionals proceed to rise to the extraordinary challenges posed by the pandemic, however these findings level in direction of a system being overstretched”

Stefan Czerniawski, govt director of technique on the GDC

For a snapshot of most people’s attitudes in direction of COVID-19 and its affect on dentistry, the GDC commissioned the Group Analysis firm to hold out impartial analysis. A web based survey that explored attitudes about affected person security and dental go to frequency, amongst others, was crammed out by 2,389 members of the general public, unfold throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Eire.

Among the findings bolstered the widespread notion that UK dentistry is coping with challenges at a systemic stage in offering satisfactory take care of sufferers. Although most people who wished a dental appointment had been capable of safe one, 22% reported being unable to e-book an appointment since August 2020. A better proportion of younger folks and people of Asian or Black ethnic backgrounds acknowledged that that they had skilled difficulties in accessing dental companies, indicating that the pandemic had continued to exacerbate oral well being inequalities within the UK. In the meantime, round one-quarter of respondents stated that they had been nonetheless hesitant about visiting a dental follow owing to issues about COVID-19.

“Dental professionals proceed to rise to the extraordinary challenges posed by the pandemic, however these findings level in direction of a system being overstretched,” stated Stefan Czerniawski, govt director of technique on the GDC, in a press launch.

He added: “Lots of the most urgent and wide-reaching challenges highlighted on this analysis, similar to entry to companies, well being inequalities and strain on professionals, would require consideration and energy from everybody proper throughout dentistry. Whereas a few of these are areas exterior of the GDC’s direct management, we are going to use this proof to tell all our work and share the insights with our companions to help these broader efforts to handle these issues.”

Editorial be aware:

The GDC’s analysis findings on the affect of COVID-19 on oral well being and dentistry can be found here.

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