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New Figures on Patients Seen by Dentists Show Changes During Closure Period

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A report published by NHS Digital today shows the number of patients seen by NHS dentists within recommended timeframes, up to June 2020. This includes the period when dentists were closed for routine care due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

NHS Dental Statistics, England: 2019–201 contains information about dental activity including patients treated by NHS dentists and the number of patients seen within the maximum recommended gap between appointments.

Dental practices were instructed to close for routine care and provide only urgent treatment from 25th March to 8th June as part of restrictions to reduce the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission.

According to the analysis in this publication, 21.01m adult patients were seen for NHS dental treatment in the 24 months to the end of June 20204, representing 47.7% of the population. This is a reduction of 876,000 adults compared to the 24 months to the end of February 20205, when 21.89m adults or 49.7% of the population were seen.

For child patients, 6.30m were seen in the 12 months to the end of June 2020, representing 52.7% of the population. This is a reduction of 758,000 children compared to the 12 months to February 2020, when 7.06m or 59.0% of children were seen.

In 2019–20, 38.38m courses of treatment were completed by NHS dentists. This is compared to 39.72m in 2018–19, a drop of 3.36%. Examinations were the most commonly carried out treatments for both adults and children, while the second most common treatments were scale and polish for adults and fluoride varnish for children.

Charges to patients for NHS dental treatment8 totalled £854.44m in 2019–20, compared to £854.58m in 2018–19.

For the second consecutive year, more than half of dentists were female – 51.3%, compared to 48.7% who were male.

The report also includes regional information showing the number of child and adult patients seen, as well as the number of courses of treatment, the type of treatment and charges to patients.

Two further reports relating to primary care dentists in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have also been published today.

Dentists’ Working Patterns, Motivation and Morale, 2018/19 and 2019/20 presents the findings of the biennial Dental Working Patterns Survey. Information includes weekly hours of work, the provision of NHS and private dentistry, the division of time between clinical and non-clinical work and annual leave of primary care dentists. The publication also reports levels of motivation and morale in the workforce, including any relationships between motivation and the listed working patterns, as well as exploring potential causes of low morale.

Dental Earnings and Expenses Estimates 2018/2019 provides detailed statistics on the earnings and expenses of self-employed primary care dentists who undertook some NHS work during the financial year.

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