Under the new dental contractual arrangements, introduced on 1 April 2006, patients do not have to be registered with a national health service dentist to receive NHS care. The closest equivalent measure to 'registration' is the number of patients receiving NHS dental services ('patients seen') over a 24-month period. However, this is not directly comparable to the registration data for earlier years.
Information on the number of patients seen by an NHS dentist in England, over the previous 24-month period, is available in table C1 of annex 3 of the "NHS Dental Statistics for England: Quarter 3: 31 December 2007" report. Information is available for the 24-month periods ending 31 March 2006, 31 March 2007, 30 June 2007, 30 September 2007, and 31 December 2007. Information is provided by strategic health authority and primary care trust (PCT). Information by constituency is not available under the new contractual arrangements.
This report, published on 5 June 2008 by the NHS Information Centre for health and social care, has already been placed in the Library and is available at:
The Dental Services Division (DSD) of the NHS Business Services Authority has recently issued 'patients seen' information at PCT level. However, this was for management information purposes. PCTs have recently raised some issues which suggest that the way in which patients are allocated to PCTs across the various quarters needs to be reviewed. This means that sub-national information on patients seen was not included in the "Dental Statistics for England: 2007/08" report. This report, published on 21 August 2008 by the NHS Information Centre for health and social care, has already been placed in the Library. The DSD has confirmed that this issue could only have a minimal impact on the national figures. They were therefore labelled as provisional pending the review. An update will be provided in the "Dental Statistics for England: 2008/09 Q1" report in November 2008.
Increasing the number of patients seen within the NHS dental service is now a priority in the Operating Framework for the NHS in England 2008-09. We have supported this with an 11 per cent. uplift in overall dental allocations to PCTs from 1 April 2008. Copies of the Operating Framework have already been placed in the Library.