Is NHS dentistry in crisis Traffic light maps of dentists distribution in England and WalesReport as inadecuate

Is NHS dentistry in crisis Traffic light maps of dentists distribution in England and Wales - Download this document for free, or read online. Document in PDF available to download.

International Journal of Health Geographics

, 3:10

First Online: 10 May 2004Received: 02 April 2004Accepted: 10 May 2004DOI: 10.1186-1476-072X-3-10

Cite this article as: Boulos, M.N.K. & Phillipps, G.P. Int J Health Geogr 2004 3: 10. doi:10.1186-1476-072X-3-10


Background-Traffic light- red-yellow-green maps are potentially powerful tools for -at a glance- problem detection, for optimising resource allocation-reallocation, setting priorities, and targeting interventions to areas most in need. The maps can be also used for administrative area comparisons and performance monitoring over time. Interactive Web versions of the maps can be generated with many handy features to further empower organisations and decision makers. Methodological issues to consider when creating -traffic light- maps include hue thresholding, data timeliness and stability of administrative boundaries.

ResultsWe used -traffic light- maps to study the distribution of dentists per 1,000 population in all 304 English Primary Care Trusts PCTs and 22 Welsh Local Health Boards LHBs using datasets of dentist numbers per PCT as at 31 December 2002 and LHB as at 26 February 2004 from the Dental Practice Board, and 2001 Census population figures for PCTs and LHBs from the Office for National Statistics. The overall NHS dentists per 1,000 population figures for England 0.374 and Wales 0.359 are low compared to many other countries, with less than 0.3 dentist per 1,000 people available to 24.1% of the total population of England 81 PCTs or 26.6% of all PCTs and 26.1% of the total population of Wales 6 LHBs or 27.3% of all LHBs. A general shortage of NHS dentists can be observed at a glance across England and Wales on all the -traffic light- maps in our study, even on those using a more -tolerant- classification and an additional orange-yellow class. The distribution of NHS dentists in England and Wales was also found to be not uniform, with some PCTs-LHBs, especially those located in some of the deprived or less populated urban and rural communities, suffering significantly more shortage of dentists than others see These results confirm recent media reports of a shortage of NHS dentists in various parts of England and Wales.

ConclusionSuitable programmes are urgently needed to increase the numbers of NHS dentists across England and Wales. We have included a set of recommendations to dental health policymakers and planners, in addition to ideas for further work.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1476-072X-3-10 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

Download fulltext PDF

Author: Maged N Kamel Boulos - Guy Picton Phillipps


Related documents