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Dental profession has good record for raising concerns

A recent survey has revealed that the majority of dental professionals who have had to raise concerns in the workplace have said that the matter was dealt with in a satisfying and professional manner.

Dental professionals are encouraged to raise concerns over anything that they feel could impact on patient care, such as the conduct of a colleague or a shortage of certain resources.

The survey, conducted by the Dental Defence Union (DDU), was responded to by a total of 328 people. Of these, over three quarters said that they had never had any reason to raise concerns, which is an overwhelmingly positive result.

Only 75 of those who took part in the survey said that they had ever had cause to raise concerns, which makes up around 23 per cent of the respondents. Out of these 75 people, 49 of them said that when they had raised concerns the matter was dealt with satisfactorily.

Only eight per cent of those asked felt that there had been any kind of barrier in the way of them raising concerns. These barriers could include pressure from their colleagues, or worries about their future and what effect raising concerns would have on their career.

Just under three per cent reported negative repercussions for raising concerns. Nine respondents said that they ended up being made to feel like they were troublemakers at work, or being subject to discrimination as a result of the concerns they had raised.

The survey did highlight that dental professionals may feel like there is not enough advice available to them, as just over two thirds of the respondents said that they would seek advice from a colleague if they had a concern that they felt needed to be raised.

Potentially, dental marketing strategies could be used to fully inform dental professionals. Just as dental posters and leaflets can be used to keep patients fully informed, they can also be used in staff rooms to have the same effect on employees.

Leo Briggs, DDU dento-legal adviser, said: “It is encouraging that the majority of dental professionals in our survey have been able to raise concerns when they encounter a threat to their patients’ safety.”

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