NHS dental patients down since 2006 contract, figures confirm

The number of patients seeing NHS dentists for treatment has fallen since the new contract of April 2006, new figures confirm today (Thursday).

Those who were seen for NHS dental treatment also varies from area to area, according to the latest figures released by The NHS Information Centre.

The report – NHS Dental Statistics for England, Quarter 3: 31 December 2007 – found that in the two years to December 2007, a total of 27.3 million patients (53.7% of the population) saw an NHS dentist.

In the two years to April 2006, a total of 28.1 million patients saw an NHS dentist (55.8% of the population).

During the third quarter of 2007/08, provisional figures showed that NHS dentists carried out 8.8 million Courses of Treatment and 19.2 million Units of Dental Activity (UDAs).

The proportion of both children and adults receiving NHS dental treatment varied according to strategic health authority (SHA) area and the variation was wider for adults than for children.

In the two years to December 2007, 49.3% of adults in England were seen by an NHS dentist.

This figure varied from area to area, ranging from 38.9% in South Central SHA area to 58.3% in North East SHA area.

Over the same two-year period, 69.6%of children in England were seen by an NHS dentist.

The highest proportion was in North East SHA where 73.4% of children accessed NHS dental care, while the lowest proportion was in London SHA where 64.8% of children accessed NHS dental care.

The full report is at http://www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/dentalstats0708q3

It is accompanied by an easy-to-use electronic fact sheet that allows users to compare the results for any primary care trust (PCT) against averages for the parent SHA and for England as a whole.

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