The Dentist Magazine.

New Research Shows Fear of Litigation Causes Stress

Published: 4/9/2019 12:00:00 AM

During Stress Awareness month, eight out of 10 Dental Protection members admit the fear of being sued causes stress and anxiety.

Receiving a claim, a complaint, or being the subject of an investigation by the General Dental Council (GDC) can be a source of stress and anxiety for dental professionals.

A Dental Protection survey of over 1,100 dentist members reveals that nearly eight out of ten (77 per cent) of respondents admit that the fear of being sued has caused them stress or anxiety.

Studies suggest that healthcare professionals often do not seek help when they find themselves in such circumstances. It is important to recognise the early signs and symptoms of stress and to seek help in order to avoid the negative impact which stress can have on a dentist’s professional and personal life.

Raj Rattan, dental director at Dental Protection, said, “Stress can impact on a dentist’s health and practice in a number of ways. It can affect confidence, clinical judgement, morale and even lead to performance issues. Research confirms that high stress levels affect performance and increase the potential for adverse outcomes of error. These may in turn spark patient complaints and claims and a self-perpetuating vicious circle is established. Sustained periods of stress with poor coping strategies can lead to burnout.

“Modern life is full of challenges, stressors and pressures - and the dental profession is no exception. During Stress Awareness month, Dental Protection would like to encourage dentists to seek help and advice to manage the condition before it causes irreversible changes to health and well-being.”

Dental Protection provides access to a counselling service for members who are experiencing emotional or psychological difficulties as a result of receiving a complaint or a claim, or who are dealing with a challenging dentolegal issue.