People in Great Yarmouth and Waveney are three times as likely to see an NHS dentist as their counterparts in Kensington and Chelsea, says a report out today from The NHS Information Centre.

NHS Dental Statistics for England 2009/10 brings together quarterly information on dental activity in England for the year 2009/10.

It also includes latest figures on the number of patients seen by an NHS dentist for the first quarter of 2010/11.

The report shows that NHS dentists saw a higher number of patients in each of the 24-month periods ending in December 2009, March 2010 and June 2010 than they did in the 24-month period ending in March 2006, when the revised contracts for NHS dentists were introduced.

In the two-year period ending June 2010, a total of 28.5 million patients were seen by an NHS dentist.

This is an increase of 376,000 on the two-year period up to the introduction of the new contracts.

The percentage of people seen by an NHS dentist in the two years to June 2010 was 55.4%.

However, although this percentage has risen each quarter since June 2008, it remains slightly below the March 2006 level of 55.8%.

The report also highlights wide variation across primary care trusts (PCTs) in the percentage of patients seeing an NHS dentist.

Whereas 76.9% of people in the Great Yarmouth and Waveney PCT area had seen an NHS dentist in the two-year period ending June 2010, fewer than 24% of people had in Kensington and Chelsea PCT area. 

The areas with the lowest percentage of people who saw an NHS dentist were:

  • Kensington and Chelsea (23.8%)
  • Richmond and Twickenham (33.9%)
  • Buckinghamshire (41.2%)
  • West Kent (41.8%) and
  • City and Hackney (41.9%)

The areas with the highest percentage of people who saw an NHS dentist were:
• Great Yarmouth and Waveney (76.9%)
Doncaster (73.2%)
Middlesbrough (72.4%)
Hull (71.8%)
• Western Cheshire (71.3%)

The report also shows:

  • More complex, band 3 treatments carried out by dentists increased by 12.2 per cent in 2009/10. This compared with a 2.7 per cent increase in simpler band 1 treatments.
  • The percentage of female dentists continues to rise each year since 2006/07, from 38.8 per cent in 2006/07 to 42.2 per cent in 2009/10. 54.1 per cent of dentists aged under-35 are female.

NHS Information Centre chief executive Tim Straughan said: “The report provides a detailed picture of the way NHS dental services are being delivered on the ground and how they are changing over time.

“It highlights a wide regional variation in the use of community NHS dental services and a continued increase in the overall number of people seeing an NHS dentist.”

The report is at