Nevin Manimala Statistics

Satisfaction with dental care services in Great Britain 1998-2019

BMC Oral Health. 2022 Jul 26;22(1):308. doi: 10.1186/s12903-022-02343-7.


BACKGROUND: Satisfaction with dental services can provide valuable insights into aspects of quality including access as well as changes in this over time. In the UK publicly funded dental services are ostensibly delivered by private sector general dental practitioners for whom private patients represent an opportunity cost to the provision of care to public patients. This study examined changes in satisfaction as economic circumstances and policy changed in Britain between 1998 and 2019.

METHODS: Data were taken from successive waves of the British Social Attitudes Survey a representative cross-sectional survey of the population between 1998 and 2019. Descriptive statistics and a series of logistic regression analyses were used to examine the relationships between satisfaction and a range of socio-demographic characteristics over time.

RESULTS: 37,328 usable responses were extracted from the survey spanning 21 years of data. Over the course of the survey approximately 71% of the sample was very satisfied, satisfied or neither satisfied nor dissatisfied with publicly funded dental services. Satisfaction fell at the outset of the study period but rose following the economic downturn from 2008 which coincided with increased use of publicly funded services. Differences were evident in satisfaction between older versus younger respondents, more affluent versus less affluent respondents and better educated versus less well-educated respondents. Satisfaction did not appear to change in response to policy changes.

CONCLUSION: Satisfaction is an important outcome of service provision. Policies aiming to improve satisfaction with publicly funded dental care in the UK must take account of the competing demands on dentists’ time from private patients. At times of economic expansion or when supply has been disrupted, these may be particularly acute and require specific interventions to improve access for those who depend on public services.

PMID:35883074 | DOI:10.1186/s12903-022-02343-7

By Nevin Manimala

Portfolio Website for Nevin Manimala