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Working conditions, health and productivity among dentists in Swedish public dental care – a prospective study during a 5-year period of rationalisation

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In recent decades, comprehensive rationalisations have been implemented in public dentistry in Sweden. How rationalisations affect working conditions, health and production from a long-term perspective has been poorly investigated. This study aims to analyse changes and associations in dentists' working conditions, health and productivity during a 5-year period. In 2003 and 2008, 65 dentists responded to questionnaires measuring work conditions and health. Treatment times for patients and productivity were tracked in electronic registers. Paired t-tests showed that the number of treated adult patients per dentist increased, and perceived physical working conditions improved while perceived work control and leadership deteriorated. Structural equation modelling showed that physical factors were important for health and productivity. When assessing risks in the work environment, there is a need to understand the interaction of effects on working conditions and health due to rationalisations so as to increase the sustainability of production systems.

Practioner Summary: Dentistry in Sweden has undergone considerable change. Questionnaire surveys with dentists, undertaken in 2003 and 2008, found that the present rationalisations resulted in improved perceived physical working conditions. Aspects of the psychosocial working environment had deteriorated, however. This is a concern as health and workability are important for workplace efficiency.
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Keywords: leadership; organisational sustainability; physical working conditions; production; work control

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Health and Medicine, National Centre for Work and Rehabilitation, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden 2: Department of Sociology and Work Science, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden 3: MedTech West/School of Engineering, University of Borås, Borås, Sweden 4: Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Lund University, Lund, Sweden 5: Department of Computer Science, Linköping University, Linköping, Sweden

Publication date: September 1, 2013

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