Female dentists on the increase in NHS

An increasing number of female dentists are working for the NHS.

New figures out today (Thursday), released by the NHS Information Centre, show that 43.5% of NHS dentists are now females following a 6.8% increase on the previous year.

This continues a recent trend that’s particularly notable in the under-35 age group – 55.2% of whom are female.

And a key finding in the report’s first ever look at clinical treatments shows that the use of fluoride varnish treatments for kids increased substantially between 2009/10 and 2010/11.

They rose by 55.1% to nearly 850,000 (8.1% of all child treatments included a fluoride varnish), while there was a 21.6% rise among adults to 335,000 (1.2% of all adult treatments included a fluoride varnish).

This rise has been attributed to the responses of dental teams to the Department of Health recommendations in its Delivering better oral health: An evidence-based toolkit for prevention that offers guidelines on preventive measures in dentistry in maintaining the good oral health care of the nation.

Today’s report brings together information on different aspects of NHS dentistry in England, from the number of dentists working for the NHS and the amount of activity they perform, to the number of patients seen by an NHS dentist.

Also revealed, an increase in dental access that reveals a one million increase since 2006 in patients through the doors of NHS dentists.

The figures show that:
• The number of treatment courses performed on the NHS increased by 655,000 (1.7%) in a year to reach 39.2 million in 2010/11. This number has been increasing each year since the courses of treatment measure was first introduced in 2006/07.

• 29.2 million patients (56.3% of the population) were seen by an NHS dentist in the 24 months to June 2011, a one million increase on the 24 months to March 2006, immediately prior to the introduction of the current dental contract when 55.8% of the population were seen by an NHS dentist.

Among child patients:
• 7.8 million were seen by an NHS dentist in the 24 months to June 2011; a 26,000 decrease (0.3%) on the 24 months to March 2006. The number of child patients seen has increased each quarter since June 2008. In 2010/11, 22,800 dentists performed NHS activity – an increase of approximately 800 (3.6%)

Today’s report also showed that NHS dentists are performing the biggest proportion of complex NHS treatments – such as bridgework and dentures – on non-paying adults.

Less than a quarter of all courses of treatment (9.0 million out of 39.2 million overall) performed by dentists in 2010/11 were carried out on non-paying adults; but this group accounted for more than half of all the complex courses of treatment (1.2 million out of 2.2 million in total).

One reason for this points to the socio-economic fact that there is a lower standard of dental health among non-paying adults.


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