Numbers seen up, treatments down

The latest report from the NHS Information Centre shows that up to 31 March 2011, for the sixth consecutive quarter, the number of NHS dental patients seen has exceeded the March 2006 baseline. However in the previous quarter up to December 2010, both courses of treatment and UDAs fell albeit by small amounts.


The quarterly report brings together information on NHS dental activity in England up to Q3 2010/11 and information on the number of patients seen by an NHS dentist, up to the fourth quarter of 2010/11.
For the sixth consecutive quarter, the number of patients seen has exceeded the March 2006 baseline; when the current dental contract was introduced. A total of 29.1 million patients were seen in the 24 month period ending March 2011, an increase of 967,000 (3.4 per cent) on the March 2006 baseline.
The total percentage of the population seen by an NHS dentist, at 56.2 per cent, is 0.4 percentage points above the March 2006 base line level, the first time that this measure has exceeded the baseline. This measure has steadily increased since its lowest point in June 2008.
There were an estimated 9.4 million Courses of Treatment (CoTs) in Q3 2010/11, a decrease of 0.1 million (1.3 per cent) on Q3 2009/10. CoTs fell for each treatment band except ‘Band 3’ and ‘Urgent’ in Q3 of 2010/11 compared to the corresponding quarter in 2009/10.
There was an estimated 0.6 per cent decrease in Units of Dental Activity (UDAs) over the corresponding period. This smaller percentage decrease in overall UDAs compared to overall CoTs is due to the rise in more complex, band 3 activity, which generates a higher number of UDAs than simpler, band 1 activity. There was an estimated 1.1 per cent increase in Band 3 CoTs (and therefore UDAs) from Q3 2009/10 to Q3 2010/11, compared to an estimated 1.6 per cent decrease in Band 1 treatments.

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