Patient satisfaction with NHS dental services

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Last updated 4 March 2018 - see all updates

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1. Main facts and figures

  • White British and White Irish patients were the most likely to report a positive experience of NHS dental services in 2016/17

  • over the 6 years covered, White British, White Irish and Black Caribbean patients were generally more likely than those from other ethnic groups to report a positive experience of NHS dental services

  • over the 6 years covered, Chinese and Arab patients were generally less likely than those from other ethnic groups to report a positive experience of NHS dental services

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.

Results taken from a low number of responses are more likely to be affected by statistical variation, so observed changes might not reflect real differences.

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 years there were only 250,000 to 300,000 responses, as these questions were conducted only on one of the 2 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 Travellers, the group found to be the second least satisfied with NHS dental services in 2016/17, with around 70% reporting a positive experience (compared with 85% for the population as a whole). This figure is based on a small number of responses (110 in 2016/17) and has been variable year on year (in 2014/15 it was the group most satisfied with NHS dental services).

Where ethnic groups have consistently low or high scores over several survey years, this can somewhat offset the uncertainty around survey estimates from one year.

What the data measures

This data measures the percentage of people reporting a positive experience of NHS dental services, broken down by ethnicity.

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

People were asked to rate their overall experience of NHS dental services. Those who replied ‘fairly good’ or ‘very good’ are considered to have had a positive experience.

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. Patients reporting a positive experience of NHS dental services by ethnicity

Percentage of patients reporting a positive experience of NHS dental services by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
All 83.4 84.0 84.2 84.6 85.2 85.2
Asian
Bangladeshi 76.5 74.1 77.4 76.5 78.0 76.0
Chinese 71.1 73.2 74.6 73.7 73.7 74.1
Indian 73.3 74.9 76.8 75.3 76.5 78.1
Pakistani 75.0 73.8 76.8 75.8 76.0 77.1
Asian other 74.8 76.7 75.6 76.5 78.2 76.2
Black
Black African 77.7 77.8 78.9 79.0 81.5 80.3
Black Caribbean 81.3 80.6 81.5 85.3 83.3 84.5
Black other 77.8 80.2 78.9 78.4 80.9 81.5
Mixed
Mixed White/Asian 76.1 77.7 82.1 82.7 80.0 81.9
Mixed White/Black African 77.2 73.0 79.3 79.4 76.7 83.5
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 77.6 79.6 84.1 81.0 80.9 82.3
Mixed other 74.8 79.1 73.3 79.5 76.9 79.0
White
White British 85.1 85.6 85.8 86.4 87.0 87.1
White Irish 82.8 83.6 83.7 85.2 86.8 87.2
White Gypsy/Traveller 77.4 77.5 64.6 87.2 69.5 71.2
White other 73.6 73.9 74.8 74.4 74.6 75.0
Other
Arab 72.0 76.1 73.6 68.8 74.4 68.1
Any other 76.6 77.9 77.0 76.6 78.5 77.2
Unknown 77.5 78.1 75.4 78.5 78.1 80.7

Download table data for ‘Patients reporting a positive experience of NHS dental services by ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Patients reporting a positive experience of NHS dental services by ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Patient satisfaction with NHS dental services Patients reporting a positive experience of NHS dental services by ethnicity Summary

  • the gap between the ethnic group most likely to report a positive experience and the one least likely to do so widened from 14.0 percentage points in 2011/12 to 19.1 percentage points in 2016/17

  • the patients most likely to report a positive experience in 2016/17 were White Irish (87.2%), White British (87.1%), and Black Caribbean (84.5%)

  • White British patients were the most likely to report a positive experience in 4 out of the 6 years covered

  • White Irish and Black Caribbean patients were consistently among the 5 ethnic groups most likely to report a positive experience over the 6 years covered

  • the patients least likely to report a positive experience in 2016/17 were Arab (68.1%) Gypsy or Irish Travellers (71.2%) and Chinese (74.1%) – Arab patients and Chinese patients were consistently among the least likely to report a positive experience over the 6 years covered

  • the results for the Gypsy or Irish Traveller ethnic group are less reliable because of the small numbers of respondents

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. They 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 GP patient survey 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, Acorn classification, which have been shown to impact on non-response bias.

For further information see the GP patient survey website.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

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

Rounding

Values are rounded to 1 decimal place.

Related publications

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

Quality and methodology information

Further technical information

Indicator specifications (PDF) (PDF opens in a new window or tab)

GP Patient Survey technical annex – 2017 annual report (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 dentistry services.

5. Download the data

Patient satisfaction with NHS dental services - Spreadsheet (csv) 23 KB

This file contains: Measure, Time, Ethnicity, Geography, Value, Denominator, Numerator, Lower CI, Upper CI, Unweighted Respondents