OPTIMISM OVER FUTURE
OF DENTISTRY MORE than a third of dentists are optimistic about the future of the profession over the next two years, according to a GDC survey. The 2013 Annual Survey of Registrants found 37 per cent were
optimistic, a two per cent increase on last year. Of the 3,600 people questioned in late 2013, 31 per cent said they were pessimistic, down two per cent on last year. The survey also found confidence in the GDC is high with 67 per cent
of respondents agreeing that the regulator is working effectively (26 per cent disagreed). Confidence with the GDC grew the longer an individual had been on the register. Nearly half of those surveyed (46 per cent) said they had come across an issue they felt should have been raised as a concern. Dental professionals were more likely to have raised a concern to someone in their workplace (39 per cent) than to the GDC (five per cent).
BRITISH SWEET TOOTH
CHALLENGE MORE than a quarter (27 per cent) of the UK population eats snacks high in sugar at least twice a day according to a survey published by the British Dental Health Foundation. The BDHF reports that
London is the UK’s biggest snacking region, with one in five Londoners (20 per cent) eating snacks high in sugar three times a day or more, followed by the North East (17 per cent) and one in 10 in Scotland and Wales (11 per cent and 10 per cent respectively). In contrast, 33 per cent of the population in the South West claim to never eat snacks high in sugar.
Only two per cent said they were influenced by the effect that food
and drink could have on the appearance of their teeth while 29 per cent said that body weight/shape may make them think twice about picking up a sugary snack. The results have been published together with Listerine as part of
National Smile Month, which ran from 19 May to 19 June. The UK’s biggest oral health campaign is an annual reminder of how to improve oral health and why maintaining it is vital to overall wellbeing.
DENTAL JOBS MORE than one in 10 new dentists hadn’t found a job before their training ended last summer, research has revealed. Around 12 per cent of trainees had finished training in 2013 without a
post to go to, according to the British Dental Association’s Survey of Foundation Dentists and Vocational Dental Practitioners. For the second year in a row, a growing proportion of trainees in England and Wales who took part in the survey reported they were taking up posts in primary salaried or hospital dentistry. It remains to be seen whether this is indicative of a wider trend. The BDA says the research adds to concerns over job availability for new dentists. Their 2013 Dental Business Trends Survey found that
GDC CONSULTATION REVEALS
HOW IT SPENDS ARF INCOME THE General Dental Council spent £26.6 million on its fitness to practise function last year, new figures reveal. The amount represents almost 80 per cent of the regulator’s total
spend of £33.9 million in 2013. Other key expenditure on statutory functions included £3.7 million
for maintaining the register, including processing applications, collecting the annual retention fee (ARF) and checking registrants have met CPD requirements.
A further £1.1 million was spent quality assuring 17 providers of
dental education and training. A total of £800,000 was spent on the Dental Complaints Service which last year dealt with 1,876 private dentistry complaints. Overall, the GDC said it raised £31 million from ARF in 2013 but spent £33.9 million. The shortfall was made up by fees received from dentists sitting the overseas registration exam, income from investments and financial reserves. The spending breakdown was revealed in a consultation document
asking dental care professionals for their views on the approach the GDC intends to take when setting the ARF, compulsory for all practising dental care professionals. The consultation closed on June 4, 2014. It follows a 2013 review of the fee that revealed a lack of clarity in five
areas: why the GDC charges fees; the language they use about charging fees, how they spend the money; why they charge different registrant groups different amounts; and the reasons why fees would be increased. As well as asking for opinions, the consultation document tried to
address these five areas. It revealed that the average cost of investigating a complaint last year was £1,100 while the average cost of a case heard was £78,000.
more than 10 per cent of current associate dentists could be officially classed as under-employed, meaning that they wanted to work more hours and were available to do so within two weeks. It also follows warnings from Health Education England and the
Centre for Workforce Intelligence at the end of 2013 of a potential over-supply of between 1,000 and 4,000 dentists in England by 2040 if the current number of places for dental students is not reduced. Judith Husband, chair of the BDA’s Education, Ethics and the Dental
Team Committee, said: “This research suggests that employment opportunities in general dental practice are not as readily available as they once were for newly-qualified practitioners. In doing so, it adds to the evidence base that must be considered as recommendations to reduce the number of places to study dentistry are contemplated. “These are difficult decisions that must be made, implemented and
monitored with great care, and in dialogue with the profession and the academic institutions they will affect.”
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