Author(s): Burke FJ, Wilson NH, Christensen GJ, Cheung SW, Brunton PA
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Abstract OBJECTIVES: To investigate, by questionnaire, various aspects of primary dental care provision in the North West of England and Scotland. METHOD: A questionnaire containing 79 questions was sent to 1,000 practitioners, selected at random, in the North West of England and Scotland. Non-responders were sent another questionnaire after a period of 4 weeks had elapsed. RESULTS: Overall a response rate of 70\% was achieved. The majority of practitioners were practice principals (65\%), working in a group NHS practice (80\%) located in a city or town centre (49\%). On average 10-20 patients were treated each session with fewer patients treated per session under private arrangements. Many practitioners were found to lack hygienist support (44\%) and to employ unqualified dental nurses (82\%). Younger practitioners were more likely than senior colleagues to have access to up-to-date computers whilst 37\% and 74\% of respondents never used CAL programmes or magnification respectively. Contemporary cross-infection control standards were used by the majority of practitioners, although 3\% of practitioners reported only autoclaving their handpiece once a day. CONCLUSIONS: The majority of practitioners, involved in this study, worked under National Health Service (NHS) regulations as principals in a group practice where the workload was greater than the private/independent sector. Contemporary cross-infection procedures were used routinely. In contrast computer-aided learning programmes and magnification were not used routinely. The practitioners in this study employed significant numbers of unqualified dental nurses.
This article was published in Br Dent J
and referenced in Journal of Antimicrobial Agents