Objective: To study career patterns of dental hygienists in Scotland.
Subjects and methods: Questionnaires were sent to all the dental hygienists enrolled with the General Dental Council in 1998 who had addresses in Scotland and those who were alumni of Scottish School of Dental Hygiene within the past 10 years.
Results: There was a 58.7% response (334 out of 569). A net loss of trained hygienists was not found. The results suggested that most would remain in employment for at least 30 years and about a third would retire early. Half were in full-time employment and 60% had been in continuous employment. Most of the remainder had personal reasons for ceasing work. 39% had refused employment because of the poor level of pay.
Conclusions: The introduction of the 2-year course has reduced output from schools of dental hygiene and demand for hygienists is high. Little hard information exists to support manpower planning in this area. This study suggests that there is little wastage of trained dental hygienists in Scotland. More data is required concerning employment opportunities and potential unmet demand for this group of PCDs to establish the number of training places required.