The NHS dentist conundrum: What’s holding them back?

With the government’s recent announcement of the eagerly anticipated NHS Dentistry Recovery Program, created to tackle ongoing hurdles encountered by NHS dental practices, we share five reasons why dentists aren’t entering the NHS field of work.


1.High levels of admin – There’s the problem of administrative tasks weighing down NHS dental practices. Dentists must deal with a lot of paperwork, audits, and following NHS rules, which are overly complicated and take up a lot of time. Dentists end up spending a ton of time on this without getting paid for it.



2.High demand- In certain areas, there’s a big demand for NHS dental services, which means people might have to wait a long time for appointments. This puts a lot of stress on dentists and their teams, making it harder to give patients care when they need it. Sometimes patients get upset about this, and unfortunately, it can even lead to anger and violence.


3.Low payment rate – There’s an issue of low payment rates from the NHS for dental treatments. These payments are often not enough to cover the costs of dental practices, especially when you think about all the expenses they have to handle to keep running. Unlike medical practices, NHS dental practices don’t get the same level of funding to support their operations.


4.Recruitment in NHS Dentistry –  Another hurdle is the difficulty in recruiting and keeping dentists to work in the NHS. The devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on access cannot be underestimated and neither should the effect of Brexit on the availability of NHS dentistry workforce. The Indemnity Clinic with Dr Neel Jaiswal, a new podcast by All Med PDI addresses the issue of recruitment and retention in dentistry alongside Sarah Buxton from Buxton Coates Solicitors. To gather insights from this podcast listen here:


5.Treatments – A issue to consider is the misconception created by the NHS dental contract, which suggests that all treatments are readily available. However, this isn’t the case. Several treatments, especially those involving laboratory work, end up costing dentists more to provide than what they’re reimbursed.



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