58% of dentists plan to leave NHS within five years, survey shows

Updated: 

More than half of dentists are planning on leaving the NHS within the next five years, a survey has found.

A study by the British Dental Association (BDA) has revealed that around 58% want to move on, including to private work, overseas, retirement or to move out of dentistry.

It also found that 53% of young and newly qualified NHS dentists, aged under 35, intend on leaving.

Of those who want to move on, private work, moving overseas, retirement or to move out of dentistry were the top reasons
Of those who want to move on, private work, moving overseas, retirement or to move out of dentistry were the top reasons (Martin Rickett/PA)

Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, BDA chairman of General Dental Practice, called for government reforms to avoid a "crisis".

He said: "It is a tragedy that a decade of underfunding and failure to deliver meaningful reform now risk shutting off the pipeline of NHS dentists.

"Government has made NHS high street practice so unattractive the next generation are now looking to the exit.

"These young dentists are the backbone of the dental workforce, and losing them at the start of their careers raises existential questions about the future of the service.

"This is a crisis made in Westminster, and Westminster must respond."

The survey was carried out in June-July 2017, with 1,212 questionnaires completed and returned by post or online.

Around 42% of those young dentists who plan on leaving said they will focus on private practice, the results show.