Dental access figures look promising

The Department of Health has published dental access statistics on findings from the second wave of results from the GP Patient Survey (conducted between January and March 2012).

Demand for access:
– 60% of adults in the survey tried to obtain an appointment with an NHS dentist in the two-year period prior to answering the question in January to March 2012
– 93% of respondents who tried to obtain an appointment within the past two years said they were successful
– 95% of respondents who tried to obtain an appointment with an NHS dentist within the past three months and within the past six months reported success
– 85% of respondents tried to make an appointment with a dental practice they had previously attended. Of those who went on to answer whether they successfully made the appointment, 97% stated they did.
– For the 12% of patients who sought appointments with a new dental practice in the last two years, 77% were successful, 21% were unsuccessful and 3% couldn’t remember the outcome.

Overall experience of NHS dentistry:

– 83% of respondents rated their overall experience as positive (47% very good, 37% fairly good)
– This increased to 87% when looking at those who had been to the practice before, compared to 63% for those who were new to the practice.

Adults who have not tried to get an NHS appointment in the last two years:
– 40% of respondents did not try to get an appointment with an NHS dentist in the last two years
– The most frequent reason was ‘not needed to visit a dentist’, which was mentioned by 19.3% of adults not trying for an NHS dental appointment in the previous two years
– This was followed closely by ‘stayed with their dentist when changed from NHS to private’,  with 19.2% and ‘I prefer to go to a private dentist’ with 19.0% of the share.
 
The survey is based on 510,000 responses, with 38% of the 1.4 million people contacted. Results are available at National (England), Strategic Health Authority (SHA) and Primary Care Trust (PCT) level.

The full Department of Health analysis is available here: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsStatistics/DH_116964

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