Factors which influence working patterns of orthodontists in the United Kingdom

J M Collins, S J Cunningham, D R Moles, J Galloway, N P Hunt
British Dental Journal 2009 July 11, 207 (1): E1; discussion 30-1

OBJECTIVE: To describe factors which influence the current working patterns of orthodontists in the United Kingdom.

DESIGN AND SETTING: A cross-sectional postal questionnaire to orthodontic specialists in the United Kingdom.

SUBJECTS: All those on the specialist list in orthodontics held by the General Dental Council in 2006-2007.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The data gathered included demographic details (gender, ethnicity, age, professional status and number of children), calendar year of achieving professional qualifications and current working patterns, together with details of any career breaks taken and geographical location of work.

RESULTS: The response rate was 81.5%. Male and female orthodontists were seen to have different working patterns. The difference was statistically significant with male orthodontists undertaking clinical work on average 1.5 sessions more per week than their female colleagues. The calendar year of completion of undergraduate studies and the number of children an orthodontist has can significantly affect the number of clinical sessions they work each week. In recent years it has been observed that there is greater ethnic diversity among the workforce but ethnic origin appeared to have a minimal effect on the number of clinical sessions worked each week. The amount and length of career breaks taken by female orthodontists was greater than their male colleagues. In addition, there continues to be an uneven distribution of orthodontists throughout the United Kingdom.

CONCLUSION: Many factors influence the current working patterns of orthodontists in the United Kingdom. However, it may be the inequitable regional distribution of orthodontists throughout the United Kingdom which is of greatest significance to orthodontic workforce planning for the future.

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