GDC Research: The Changing Impact of COVID-19

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GDC launches second round of research on the continuing and changing impact of COVID-19

All dental professionals are being invited to take part in an online survey, as part of independent research commissioned by the General Dental Council (GDC) to understand the continuing and changing impact of COVID-19 on dental professionals, and implications for the future.

The research aims to understand impacts on dental professionals’ financial circumstances, mental health, and their ability to provide services to the public.

This project builds on the research carried out in 2020 for which the key findings were:

• The financial impact on dental practices and professionals has been severe. The continuing need for infection control measures will continue to constrain capacity and limit the pace of recovery.
• Most dental professionals felt confident that they could do their job safely but there are concerns about the consistency and timing of guidance issued during the height of the pandemic.
• Access to dental care has been severely affected and is likely to continue to be for some time. Dental professionals told us of their uncertainty about the demand for services and their ability to meet it.
• Dental professionals expect some groups of patients to be affected more severely than others, including those particularly vulnerable to infection, older people and people unable to afford dental treatment.
• Dental service design is quickly evolving in response to the pandemic, and dental professionals see a need for funding models and regulatory approaches to evolve in parallel.

GDC Head of Regulatory Intelligence, David Teeman, said: “COVID-19 restrictions in the UK had a profound effect on dental professionals and, while most restrictions have now been lifted, we know that the pandemic continues to impact upon dental provision in a number of different ways and is likely to do so for some time.

“This research will provide valuable insight, ensuring how we respond – both at the GDC and elsewhere – will be informed by evidence. The more responses we get from across the dental team, the better that insight will be, and so I encourage all professionals to take part.”

The survey is open until Friday 12th November and invitations to take part have been emailed to all professionals.