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Publication, Part of

Dental Working Hours - 2016/17 and 2017/18: Working Patterns, Motivation and Morale [PAS]

Official statistics
Publication Date:
Geographic Coverage:
United Kingdom
Geographical Granularity:
Country, Dental practices
Date Range:
01 Apr 2016 to 31 Mar 2018


Dental Working Hours - 2016/17 and 2017/18: Working Patterns, Motivation and Morale presents findings from the biennial Dental Working Patterns Survey which was undertaken during the spring of 2018.

All self-employed primary care dentists who provided some NHS/Health Service treatment in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland during one or both of 2016/17 and 2017/18 were invited to participate. The report presents information on dentists’ working patterns such as:

  • weekly hours of work
  • NHS/Health Service and private dentistry
  • division of time between clinical and non-clinical work
  • annual leave
  • age

The report also explores any relationship between these working patterns and dentists’ motivation and morale.

This is the first time that this report has been released as a single instalment. Time-series comparisons are provided from 2006/07 for England & Wales and from 2008/09 for Northern Ireland and Scotland. Detailed working patterns, motivation and morale results are available through the interactive report. Although the report contains analysis for England & Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, the values are not directly comparable between countries; this is due to differing contractual arrangements as well as the use of different methods to derive dental type in each country.

The report has been produced by NHS Digital in consultation with the Dental Working Group which includes representatives from the UK Health Departments, NHS England, NHS Business Services Authority Information Services, the National Association of Specialist Dental Accountants and Lawyers and the British Dental Association representing the views and interests of dentists.

We welcome feedback on all of our publications. Please contact us with any comments and suggestions by email to stating Dental Working Hours in the subject line, or by telephone on 0300 303 567.

Key Facts

In general, dentists take fewer weeks’ annual leave than they did when the survey was first undertaken while those in England & Wales and Scotland now tend to work longer weekly hours.

During the last decade there has been a notable drop in the amount of time dentists spend on clinical work across the UK. Principal dentists (and Associates in England & Wales) have also seen a drop in the time they spend on NHS/Health Service work over the same period.

The more time dentists spend on NHS/Health Service work, the lower their levels of motivation.

During the last six years there has been an overall drop in the motivation of dentists in England & Wales and Scotland and Principal dentist in Northern Ireland. However, Associate dentists in Northern Ireland, who had previously been the unhappiest, have shown small increases in motivation over the last two years.

The most common contributory factors to low morale are increasing expenses and/or declining income and the risk of litigation and the cost of indemnity fees. Regulations are also cited as a major cause of low morale amongst Principal dentists.

Nearly two-thirds of Principal dentists and over half of all Associate dentists across the UK often think of leaving dentistry.

Note: For the sake of prose, Providing-Performer dentists in England & Wales are referred to as Principals, matching the nomenclature for dentists in other countries.

A word cloud is a graphical depiction of text where the size of each word is indicative of the frequency of its use within the text. This word cloud is based upon the free-text comments submitted by dentists at the end of the 2016/17 and 2017/18 Dental Working Patterns Survey.
Word cloud based upon free-text responses at the end of the Dental Working Patterns Survey.


Related Links

Last edited: 21 January 2019 11:52 am