Recent data from the NHS Outcomes Frameworks Indicators shows that in 2017-2018, 94.6% of people who tried to get an NHS dental appointment succeeded in doing so. On the face of it, that’s an impressive statistic, but it does mean that there are some people failing to get dental treatment when they need it. This policy represents an attempt to move the figure closer to 100%.
Some ethnic groups are disproportionately represented in the number of patients failing to successfully book dental appointments, with “White Gypsy/Traveller”, “Any other” and “Black African” groups having the lowest recorded success rates. Data from patient surveys carries a degree of uncertainty, but government efforts to improve coverage are in part guided by the need to improve equitable access which these figures imply.
In May 2018, the government published a report evaluating a new Dental Prototype Agreement Scheme, which is piloting “new ways of providing NHS dental care with an increased emphasis on preventing future dental disease”. The report found enough progress had been made in “maintaining or increasing access to merit continuation of the programme”.
Following that, in July 2108, the Department of Health and Social Care announced that by October 2018, 50 new practices in England would join the pilot scheme.
The continuing roll-out of the Dental Prototype Agreement Scheme is evidence that this policy is ‘in progress’, although it’s worth noting that we found nothing related to this pledge in the NHS Long Term Plan. We’ll keep tracking the data in the NHS Outcomes Frameworks Indicators to see if the objective of improved coverage is met. Follow this policy for updates.
Open wide, let the stats inside!
- Data set: 4.4.ii Access to NHS dental services – NHS Digital
- Access to NHS dental services – Gov.uk
- Dental Contract Reform – Gov.uk
- Dental contract reform: prototypes scheme – Gov.uk
- New dental care approach to be expanded after trial reduces tooth decay – Gov.uk
- NHS Long Term Plan
- Reform NHS Dentistry contracts