In the most recent period (January to March 2013), 1.4 million adults were asked about access to NHS dentistry in the previous two years. Participants were asked if they had tried to obtain an appointment with an NHS dentist, and if so, whether it was with a practice they had been to before and had they been successful. They were also asked what their overall experience was of NHS dentistry. Patients who hadn’t tried to obtain an NHS dentist in the previous two years were asked to select the main reason why they hadn’t tried.
The results from the survey responses are presented here at national (England), Strategic Health Authority (SHA) and Primary Care Trust (PCT) level.
- 1.4 million adults contacted, 500,000 replies received with a response rate of 35.5%.
- Of all respondents asked, three fifths stated they have tried to get an NHS dental appointment in the last two years.
- Of those that tried to get an appointment in the last two years, 93% were successful, a success rate of 95% when excluding the can’t remember category.
- Respondents who were younger adults, from ethnic minorities or who had not been to the practice before were less successful in getting an NHS dental appointment.
- 84% of respondents who tried to get an appointment in the last two years rated their NHS dental experience as positive (48% very good and 36% fairly good);
- Two fifths of adults did not try to get an appointment with an NHS dentist in the last two years, just over half of these had not tried at all and the remaining last tried over two years ago.
- The main reason given for not trying to get an appointment was “not needed to visit the dentist” which was mentioned by a fifth of adults (20%) who did not try.
- 38% of those who did not try to get an NHS dental appointment mentioned private dentistry as the reason; 20% stating they prefer private dentistry and 18% staying when their dentist move from NHS to private.
- 13% of the respondents who didn’t try to get an NHS dental appointment gave their reason as “I didn’t think I could get an NHS dental appointment”.
The accompanying report below, provides a summary of the results, at a national and SHA level and gives comparisons to the previous year.
Further breakdowns of these figures can be found in the tables below, together with a copy of the question responses from the dental section of the survey.
For full results of the GP Patient Survey and the questions used, see the GP Patient Survey website.