More than half of salaried primary dental care service (SPDCS) dentists are worried that patient care is being eroded, according to a new poll by the British Dental Association.
The poll of 415 salaried service members also found that three quarters felt their service was “understaffed”, with an inability or unwillingness to fill vacant positions.
More than half of those questions revealed that waiting times were being impacted and the care of patients threatened because of the low staffing levels which were also a primary cause of the low moral in the service.
Furthermore, half of salaried dentists believe that caseloads are excessive, more than a third felt that clinical standards were being put under pressure, while a third said that there were not given sufficient time in appointments to complete all necessary treatment.
Meanwhile some respondents to the survey said there were frustrated by a lack of clinical leadership and poor knowledge on the part of some non-dental NHS managers.
Dr Peter Bateman, BDA chair of the salaried dentists committee, said: “This survey highlights considerable pressure on salaried dentists from creeping erosion of their services and raises concerns about their ability to sustain high-quality care to the vulnerable patients they care for.
“Employing organisations need to ensure their staffing levels and clinical management structures support their dental staff in providing quality care to patients, and seek to improve morale among salaried dental staff.”
The findings were incorporated in the BDA’s evidence to the 2013/14 Doctor and Dentists Review Body (DDRB).