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P104 What is the impact of COVID-19 on oral health care workforce participation? A cross sectional study
  1. Kate Levin1,
  2. Richard Bairstow2,
  3. Gail Douglas2
  1. 1Public Health Directorate, NHS GGC, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2School of Dentistry, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK


Background An international study of dental practise across 36 countries during the pandemic concluded that although lockdown affected provision of service temporarily, oral health provision had not been significantly affected. This study aims to describe the impact of COVID-19 on future workforce participation in the UK and associated individual factors.

Methods The survey was carried out in the UK in June and July of 2020. 4,637 primary care dentists responded, approximately 12% of UK practitioners. Summary statistics described changes in planned retirement age and change in career. Univariate and multivariable multilevel modelling was carried out for individuals nested by country with outcome variables ‘change in planned retirement age’ and ‘plans to leave dentistry’, adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, role, working hours, experience of COVID-19, proportion of NHS provision and high COVID risk status.

Results More than a fifth of respondents (1032, 22.3%) planned to change career away from dentistry, ranging from 16.8% in Wales to 24.9% in Northern Ireland. Of the 1559 who responded to a change in planned retirement age, 5.9% reported no change due to the pandemic, 37.1% reported an increase in retirement age and 57.0% a decrease, with a mean of -1.35 years. Reporting an increase was more prevalent in Wales (50.0%) and Scotland (45.7%). Under a multilevel linear model for those with no change or an increase in planned retirement age (on average +3.77 years), a reduction of -0.15 (-0.19, -0.11) years was associated with every additional year of age; a reduction of -3.72 (-5.97, -1.47) years was associated with being a foundation dentist relative to a principal dentist; a reduction of -0.02 (-0.03, -0.01) years was associated with each additional% of NHS provision offered; an additional 1.10 (0.33, 1.86) years was associated with having no COVID risk status relative to those with moderate risk; and an additional 1.23 (0.38, 2.07) years was associated with being Asian/British Asian relative to being White. Similar reversed associations with age, role and ethnicity were observed under the model for those with a reduction or no change in planned retirement age. Under a logistic model, younger age, reduced proportion of NHS provision, having an Asian/British Asian ethnicity, being an associate dentist and experience of COVID-19 were associated with an increased likelihood in planning a career away from dentistry.

Conclusion The findings suggest that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown may be felt in future dental workforce participation.

  • dentistry
  • workforce

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