Article

The impact of changes in incentives and governance on the motivation of dental practitioners.

School of Dentistry, University of Liverpool, UK.
International Journal of Health Planning and Management (Impact Factor: 0.64). 01/2011; 26(1):70-88. DOI: 10.1002/hpm.1037
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Recent changes to the system of remuneration and contracting arrangements with Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) has meant that dental practitioners in the UK have experienced several types of incentive and governance arrangements. This paper uses data from a qualitative study of 20 dental practitioners to examine the influence of different systems of incentives and governance on their motivational system. Results show that a perceived reduction in autonomy was the least acceptable aspect of the health reforms. The study also suggests that conflict between self-interested and altruistic motives may occur where medical professionals operate as independent contractors in a small business environment. Whilst dentists appeared to show altruistic motives towards their patients, priorities towards running an autonomous business enterprise meant that PCT managerial requirements, for example, to widen access were not welcomed, because of their impact on managerial autonomy. Moreover, whilst dentists' professional ethos appeared geared towards achieving technically high quality standards of work, this produced tensions against a background of cost containment in a fee-per-item system of remuneration. The paper raises issues such as the person-system interaction associated with professional and individual autonomy and the importance of reciprocity and fair payment.

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