Access to NHS dental services

Published

Last updated 4 March 2018 - see all updates

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1. Main facts and figures

  • 94.6% of people who tried to get an NHS dental appointment over the previous 2 years were successful in doing so – the figure has remained around 95% over the years covered by the survey

  • in 2016/17, people from the White British and White Irish ethnic groups were the most likely to report success in getting an NHS dental appointment

  • over the time period from 2011/12 to 2016/17, White British and White Irish were both consistently among the 3 ethnic groups most likely to report success in getting an appointment

  • in 2016/17, people in the Black African ethnic group and the Gypsy or Irish Traveller group were the least likely to report success in getting an NHS dental appointment – however, the findings are less reliable for the Gypsy or Irish Traveller group because of the small numbers of respondents

  • people in the Any other and Gypsy or Irish Traveller ethnic groups were consistently among the 4 ethnic groups least likely to report success in getting an NHS dental appointment over the time period from 2011/12 to 2016/17

Things you need to know

Bear in mind that the trends shown in the data may not extend beyond the time series of this analysis.

These data do not allow us to assess whether observed differences between ethnic groups have occurred as a result of chance. Although the number of respondents taking part each year is relatively large (in 2016/17 around 400,000 people responded to the dentistry questions), caution should still be used when comparing satisfaction levels between ethnic groups or over time. In previous year there were only 250,000 to 300,000 responses, as these questions were conducted only on one of the two survey waves. As a result the sample sizes for some ethnic groups may be small throughout the period.

All survey estimates are subject to a degree of uncertainty as they are based on a sample of the population. The degree of uncertainty is greater when the number of respondents is small, so it will be highest for ethnic minority groups.

This is particularly the case for Gypsy or Irish Traveller, the group found to be the least likely to report successfully booking an appointment in 2016/17, with roughly 81% doing so. This figure is based on a small number of respondents (104 in 2016/17) and has been variable year on year.

What the data measures

This data measures the percentage of people from different ethnic groups in England who, over the previous 2 years, had tried to get an NHS dental appointment and were successful.

The data source is the GP patient survey (GPPS), commissioned by NHS England and conducted by Ipsos MORI.

Patients were eligible for the survey if they lived in England and:

  • were aged 18 or over
  • had an NHS number
  • had been registered with a GP for 6 months
  • had used NHS dental services in the 2 years before being surveyed
  • had not received a survey in the last 12 months
The ethnic categories used in this data

This data uses the standardised ethnic groups based on the 2011 Census:

White:

  • English/Welsh/ Scottish/Northern Irish/British (‘White British’)
  • Irish
  • Gypsy or Irish Traveller
  • Any other White background

Mixed/Multiple ethnic group:

  • White and Black Caribbean
  • White and Black African
  • White and Asian
  • Any other Mixed/Multiple ethnic background

Asian/Asian British:

  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Bangladeshi
  • Chinese
  • Any other Asian background

Black/African/Caribbean/Black British:

  • African
  • Caribbean
  • Any other Black/African/Caribbean background

Other ethnic group:

  • Arab
  • Any other ethnic group

2. Access to NHS dental services

Percentage of people who reported successfully booking an NHS dental appointment by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
All 94.5 94.9 94.8 95.0 94.7 94.6
Asian
Bangladeshi 90.4 88.1 92.7 91.6 90.8 90.3
Chinese 93.2 94.2 92.9 94.9 91.9 92.0
Indian 91.8 91.2 91.6 91.2 90.5 91.0
Pakistani 90.4 90.2 91.3 91.2 91.1 91.4
Asian other 90.7 91.7 88.7 90.9 90.2 90.7
Black
Black African 87.2 88.8 88.6 88.1 89.2 88.0
Black Caribbean 94.9 93.2 93.4 93.8 93.0 94.4
Black other 88.2 91.0 89.6 91.0 91.2 90.4
Mixed
Mixed White/Asian 92.6 92.3 94.6 94.3 94.2 94.6
Mixed White/Black African 91.7 86.0 87.8 90.1 88.1 90.0
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 92.0 93.4 91.7 94.8 95.0 92.2
Mixed other 89.4 93.3 91.2 93.9 91.1 91.8
White
White British 95.4 95.7 95.6 95.8 95.6 95.5
White Irish 94.7 94.6 94.1 95.8 95.3 95.4
White Gypsy/Traveller 86.2 87.2 86.2 89.7 87.6 80.8
White other 90.9 91.3 91.6 91.3 90.3 90.5
Other
Arab 90.4 92.5 86.4 88.7 92.3 91.1
Any other 87.2 88.5 88.7 87.6 87.2 88.6
Unknown 91.7 93.0 92.3 92.7 91.6 93.2

Download table data for ‘Access to NHS dental services’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Access to NHS dental services’ (CSV)

Summary of Access to NHS dental services Access to NHS dental services Summary

The data shows that:

  • in 2016/17, the ethnicities of the patients least likely to report successfully booking an appointment were Gypsy or Irish Traveller (80.8%), Black African (88.0%) and the Any other ethnic category (88.6%) – the percentages for these groups were consistently below the national average over the period 2011/12 to 2016/17

  • between 2012/13 and 2016/17, Gypsy or Irish Travellers were consistently among the 4 ethnic groups least likely to report successfully booking an appointment – however, the results for this group are the least reliable as they are based on very small sample sizes

  • the lowest percentage reported for successfully booking a dental appointment (if Gypsy or Irish Travellers are excluded) was 86.0% in 2012/13 by Mixed White and Black African people

  • in 2016/17, the ethnicities of the patients most likely to report successfully booking an appointment were White British (95.5%), White Irish (95.4%) and Mixed White and Asian (94.6%) – the percentage for White British patients was consistently above the national average each year over the period 2011/12 to 2016/17

3. Methodology

The GPPS has been designed to give patients the opportunity to provide feedback about their experiences of their NHS GP and dentistry services across a variety of issues.

Over a whole-year cycle, about 2.1 million surveys are sent out and about 800,000 responses are received. The average response rate is 37.5%.

Respondents can respond by post, online or by phone. Respondents may request a questionnaire in a different language, in braille or online using sign language.

Surveys collect information from a random sample of the target population to make generalisations (reach ‘findings’) about everyone within that population.

All surveys carry the risk of biased results if some types of people are less likely to respond than others. To compensate for this, data from the GPPS is weighted to account for this non-response bias. This adjusts the data to account for potential differences between the demographic profile of all eligible patients in a practice and the patients who actually complete the questionnaire. The non-response weighting scheme has been developed by Ipsos MORI, incorporating elements such as age and gender. It also includes factors from the area where the respondent lives, such as level of deprivation, ethnicity profile and Acorn classification, which have been shown to affect non-response bias.

For further information see NHS England’s GP patient survey website.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

Data is suppressed if fewer than 10 people answered the question in a particular group.

Rounding

Values are presented to one decimal place.

Related publications

The release of the indicator file is accompanied by a statistical commentary.

Quality and methodology information

Further technical information

Indicator specifications: 4.4.ii Access to NHS dental services (PDF) (PDF opens in a new window or tab)

GPPS technical annex (PDF) (PDF opens in a new window or tab)

4. Data sources

Source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

NHS England

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

Feedback from patients on their experience, treatment and care is an important source of information for helping local clinicians and managers to improve the quality of service design and healthcare.

The GP patient survey (GPPS) responses used for this measure offer healthcare providers insights that can help improve GP surgeries and the services the provide.

Secondary source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics

Publisher

NHS Digital

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

Feedback from patients on their experience, treatment and care is an important source of information for helping local clinicians and managers to improve the quality of service design and healthcare.

The GP patient survey (GPPS) responses used for this measure offer healthcare providers insights that can help improve GP surgeries and the services the provide.

5. Download the data

Access to NHS Dental Treatment - Spreadsheet (csv) 20 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, value, denominator, numerator, confidence intervals, unweighted sample size