Experiences from the Merger of Clinics in the Swedish Public Dental Service - the Employee Perspective



Christina Hassel Gustafsson1, Anna-Lena Östberg1, 2, 3, *
1 Public Dental Service, Västra Götaland, Sweden
2 Department of Behavioral and Community Dentistry, Institute of Odontology, The Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden
3 R&D Centre Skaraborg, Skövde, Sweden


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© 2017 Gustafsson and Östberg.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode. This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Public Dental Service Västra Götaland, P.O. Box 7163, SE-402 33 Göteborg, Sweden; Tel: +46703489600; E-mail: anna-lena.ostberg@vgregion.se


Abstract

Objectives:

The purpose of this study was to investigate the experiences of employees regarding the merger of clinics within the Public Dental Service (PDS), Västra Götaland Region, Sweden.

Methods:

Employees (dentists, dental hygienists, dental nurses) affected by both administrative and geographical mergers of dental clinics answered a web-based survey about experiences and effects of the merger process (n = 99, 47%). The Swedish short-form version of “The Nordic Questionnaire for Psychological and Social Factors at Work” (QPSNordic), the QPSNordic-34+ was used. Chi-squared tests and logistic regression analyses were used.

Results:

Two thirds of the participants were aged ≥ 50 years. The respondents stated that the reasons for the merger were often made clear (78%). Satisfaction with and involvement in the merger process received lower scores (45%). Work was often perceived as stressful, irrespective of the merger. Job demands and engagement scored positively, but control at work was given a low score (one fifth stated fairly high or high control). Dentists (OR 5.9; 95%, CI 1.1-32.3), but not dental hygienists (OR 2.8; 95%, CI 0.9-9.0), indicated stress significantly more often than dental nurses (reference) (adjusted for age and gender).

Conclusion:

Employees in the Public Dental Service (PDS) in a Swedish region had mainly positive experiences after the merger of clinics; however, their involvement in the process was low. Work demands were perceived as high. These findings should be considered when planning mergers in dental organizations.

Keywords: Dental staff, Health facility merger, Job satisfaction, Organization and administration, Questionnaire, Work load.