Patient satisfaction with NHS dental services

The main facts and figures show that:

  • overall in 2017/18, 85.2% of patients reported a positive experience of NHS dental services
  • White British and White Irish patients were the most likely to report a positive experience of NHS dental services in 2017/18
  • over the 7 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
  • patients from the Arab and Chinese ethnic groups 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 2017/18 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 the dentistry questions were included in only 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 Travellers. People from this ethnic group were found to be the joint fifth most satisfied with NHS dental services in 2017/18, with around 82% reporting a positive experience (compared with 85% for the population as a whole). This figure is based on a small number of responses (118 in 2017/18) and has been variable year on year – in 2014/15 it was the group most satisfied with NHS dental services and in 2015/16, the group least satisfied.

Year on year comparisons should be made with caution for ethnic minorities as the degree of variation between years can lead to greater uncertainty around the estimate. 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 are eligible for the survey if they live in England and:

  • are aged 16 years and over – however, respondents aged 16 and 17 years are not included in this data (or any other NHS Digital data)
  • have an NHS number
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

Ethnic groups and how data on ethnicity is collected

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 2017/18
All 83.4 84.0 84.2 84.6 85.2 85.2 85.2
Asian
Bangladeshi 76.5 74.1 77.4 76.5 78.0 76.0 76.9
Chinese 71.1 73.2 74.6 73.7 73.7 74.1 74.9
Indian 73.3 74.9 76.8 75.3 76.5 78.1 77.4
Pakistani 75.0 73.8 76.8 75.8 76.0 77.1 77.9
Asian other 74.8 76.7 75.6 76.5 78.2 76.2 77.4
Black
Black African 77.7 77.8 78.9 79.0 81.5 80.3 80.1
Black Caribbean 81.3 80.6 81.5 85.3 83.3 84.5 82.9
Black other 77.8 80.2 78.9 78.4 80.9 81.5 78.0
Mixed
Mixed White/Asian 76.1 77.7 82.1 82.7 80.0 81.9 82.0
Mixed White/Black African 77.2 73.0 79.3 79.4 76.7 83.5 84.4
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 77.6 79.6 84.1 81.0 80.9 82.3 82.4
Mixed other 74.8 79.1 73.3 79.5 76.9 79.0 78.9
White
White British 85.1 85.6 85.8 86.4 87.0 87.1 87.2
White Irish 82.8 83.6 83.7 85.2 86.8 87.2 86.6
White Gypsy/Traveller 77.4 77.5 64.6 87.2 69.5 71.2 82.4
White other 73.6 73.9 74.8 74.4 74.6 75.0 74.0
Other
Arab 72.0 76.1 73.6 68.8 74.4 68.1 73.1
Any other 76.6 77.9 77.0 76.6 78.5 77.2 74.9
Unknown 77.5 78.1 75.4 78.5 78.1 80.7 81.1

Download table data (CSV) Source data (CSV)

Summary

This data shows that:

  • overall in 2017/18, 85.2% of patients reported a positive experience of NHS dental services
  • the patients most likely to report a positive experience in 2017/18 were White British (87.2%), White Irish (86.6%), and Mixed White and Black African (84.4%)
  • White British patients were the most likely to report a positive experience in 5 out of the 7 years covered
  • White Irish and Black Caribbean patients were consistently among the 5 ethnic groups most likely to report a positive experience over the 7 years covered
  • the patients least likely to report a positive experience in 2017/18 were from the Arab (73.1%), White other (74.0%), Chinese (74.9%) and Other (74.9%) ethnic groups – those from the Arab and Chinese ethnic groups were consistently among the least likely to report a positive experience over the 7 years covered
  • the gap between the ethnic group most likely to report a positive experience and the one least likely to do was 14.1 percentage points in 2017/18 – the gap was very similar in 2011/12 (at 14.0 percentage points)
  • the results for the Gypsy or Irish Traveller ethnic group are less reliable because of the small numbers of respondents

Methodology

Methodology

The GP patient survey (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 given to 1 decimal place.

Related publications

NHS Outcomes Framework England, November 2018 (statistical commentary, PDF)

Quality and methodology information

Further technical information

NHS Outcomes Framework: Domain 4 – Ensuring that people have a positive experience of care Indicator specifications (PDF)

GP Patient Survey technical annex (PDF)

Data sources

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.

Secondary source

Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

Official statistics

Publisher

NHS Digital

Publication frequency

Yearly

Purpose of data source

Download the data

Patient satisfaction with NHS dental services - Spreadsheet (csv) 27 KB

This file contains the following: measure, ethnicity, year, value, confidence intervals (upper bound, lower bound).