Promoting access to dental care in South London: adult patients' perspectives

Sylviana Haji Moris, Orla Carty, Kristina Wanyonyi, Jenny Gallagher

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Objective - To evaluate patients’ views on health service initiatives established to improve uptake of NHS primary dental care amongst adult patients in a socially deprived area, comparing practices with extended and regular contract capacity.

Study design - Service evaluation and cross-sectional survey.

Method - Questionnaire survey of patients attending a random sample of dental practices in three inner-metropolitan boroughs of south London following initiatives to improve access to dental care, (across dental practices delivering regular and extended contracts for services) exploring attendance patterns, and the influence and awareness of local initiatives to promote access.

Results - 450 adults across 12 dental practices completed questionnaires: 79% reported attending for routine, and 21% for urgent care. Patients were most aware of banners outside practices, followed by dental advertisements in newspapers. Vouchers for free treatments, were considered of highest possible influence, followed by vouchers for reduced treatment costs and an emergency out-of-hours helpline. Awareness and influence were not aligned, and there was no evidence of difference by practice contract type whilst there were differences
by age and type of attendance.

Conclusion - The findings suggest that providing financial incentives and emergency services are considered the most influential initiatives for adult patients whose attendance patterns appear to be related to personal circumstances, rather than merely being influenced by the provision of information.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Public Health
Early online date25 Aug 2017
Publication statusEarly online - 25 Aug 2017


  • access
  • dentisry
  • improving uptake
  • barriers to dental care
  • dental health
  • general dental practice


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