This report provides the findings from the 2019 Dental Professional Survey. This is the fifth time the survey has been conducted.
The 2019 Dental Professional Survey provides a pre-COVID-19 snapshot of professionals’ views i.e. before all of our lives changed. For this reason, we need to avoid extrapolating too much, given the extraordinary changes dental professionals and dentistry has experienced since the survey was undertaken.
The quantitative work, which included a survey of 7,848 dental professionals was undertaken in June and July 2019. The qualitative work, which included 46 in-depth interviews and five focus groups involving 30 participants, took place in September and October 2019.
The findings suggest a commonly held perception that the GDC does not involve practising dental professionals in its work and does not, therefore, understand dental professionals or their roles. Although we continue to work with and engage with dental professionals, the findings clearly identify a need for us to understand why this perception persists and to consider how we might challenge these misperceptions about how we do work with dental professionals.
Through the research, dental professionals have also raised concerns about the high-pressure environment created by fitness to practise investigations and suggest the need for further mental health support from the GDC. We agree that this is an issue of critical importance.
Fitness to practise investigation can be a stressful experience for anyone involved. The inflexibility of the process, dictated in part by legislation, can result in disproportionate outcomes that take too long to achieve. While we are not able to provide mental health support, we do signpost dental professionals to organisations that provide this type of support. We feel this is the best approach, for the moment, because it maintains our independence in the process and ensures the support is provided by independent experts.
We are in the process of commissioning a review of wellbeing and mental health of dental professionals to gain a better understanding of the challenges that dental professionals face.
It is important that we continue to listen to, understand, and respond to the current issues and priorities dental professionals are facing today, and this report helps us to develop our understanding of their views.