Confidence among dentists has fallen to the lowest point recorded since 2013.
According to new data from Lloyds Bank Healthcare Confidence Index, dentists’ confidence took a significant hit as a result of the pandemic.
It reveals that short-term confidence fell to -24 in its ranking system, when compared to +3 in January 2020. And their long-term confidence fell even further to -46 from -42 in the same time span.
The survey usually takes place once at the beginning of the year. But Lloyds Bank ran it a second time in 2020 to measure the effects of COVID on health professionals.
Decrease NHS delivery
In addition, three quarters (73%) of dentists expect financial pressures to grow across the next five years.
The findings also reveal that dentists are seeking different avenues to drive profits. For example, three fifths (62%) report that they will cut back on the proportion of NHS work they deliver – or transition to a fully private practice within a year.
In comparison, just 13% say they plan to ramp up the NHS work they carry out.
However, two thirds (65%) of dentists say they would still urge friends or family to join the profession, pointing out the short-term nature of certain concerns.
Martyn Kendrick is the UK head of healthcare banking services at Lloyds Bank.
‘Dentists have been one of the hardest hit healthcare sectors as a result of the pandemic. The majority were forced to close their doors to everyone except emergency patients,’ he said.
‘The extent of the impact is evident in the prevailing uncertainty over financial pressures and profitability in both the short and long term that comes through in the research.
‘It’s clear there is a difficult road ahead, despite sparks of optimism. Now more than ever it is vital dentists are supported.
‘We’re committed to providing support to this most resilient of sectors as it evolves to meet the many challenges presented by COVID-19 and continues to play a crucial role in the UK’s healthcare system.’
Follow Dentistry.co.uk on Instagram to keep up with all the latest dental news and trends.