New survey reveals improved levels of patient satisfaction for NHS dentistry

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A new survey has revealed increased levels of satisfaction among dental patients in England and Wales.

Data obtained by the National Centre for Social Research showed a significant increase in satisfaction levels among those using NHS dental services. The British Social Attitude’s Survey confirmed an increase of 7 percent in satisfaction levels, bringing the current rate up to the highest level it has been for nearly two decades. Now, more than 60 percent of people are happy with the service they receive, a marked improvement from the early 2000’s when rates plunged to as low as 40 percent.

The news has been welcomed by the British Dental Association, and representatives have encouraged dentists to take pride in their work, despite the challenges they face as a result of working conditions. Morale in dentistry has fallen, largely due to the constraints placed on dentists by the 2006 contract, which has yet to be reformed. Mick Armstrong, BDA chair, suggested that dentists can take heart from high levels of satisfaction, which show that most patients trust and respect their dentist and value the work they do. Mr Armstrong added that it was a “miracle” that NHS dentists had achieved such a feat, given that their real-term income has fallen by over 30 percent in the last decade, and many are facing increasing pressure at work.

The survey involved almost 3,000 people who were asked about their general impression of the NHS. Of this group, around 1,000 were asked about their experiences of specific NHS services, such as dentistry.

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