Improved working conditions and professional support will benefit young dentists

Humphris, G
January 1999
British Dental Journal;1/9/1999, Vol. 186 Issue 1, p25
Academic Journal
Objective To determine the relationships between working conditions for new dental graduates and their mental and physical health. Design A cross-sectional postal survey. Subjects Graduate cohorts from 1991 and 1994 (before and after the introduction of mandatory vocational training) were selected. 232 questionnaires were sent and 183 replied (77%): 90 men (49%) and 93 women (51%). Setting The cohorts came from all Scottish dental schools. When surveyed in 1996/1997, 66% were working in Scotland and 28% were in England. The rest were elsewhere in the UK or abroad. Measures included: number of patients seen, pace of work, hours worked, attitudes to work, financial arrangements, alcohol consumption, sickness-absence, physical and mental health. Results There were significant differences between those working in general practice and those in hospital in terms of the hours, number of patients seen, feelings of competence and senior support. Methods of payment for treatment in general practice also revealed differences in perception of work: most pressure at work was associated with part NHS and part private funding. Mental health and alcohol consumption were equivalent to agematched junior doctors, but increased psychological symptoms in female dentists were significantly associated with the number of units of alcohol consumed. Conclusion Selected working conditions are associated with reported competence, stress and health among young dentists.


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