Evaluation of the telephone and clinical NHS urgent dental service in Sheffield

D J Worsley, Z Marshman, P G Robinson, K Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


OBJECTIVE: Evaluate an NHS in- and out-of-hours urgent dental service (UDS) including both a telephone triage provider (TTP) and a sole clinical provider (CP) using a quality framework.

BASIC RESEARCH DESIGN: Analysis of activity and patient experience data.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Ratio of volume of services to activity provided; distance and time travelled; appropriateness of referrals and treatments; equity of utilisation; patient experience; cost per patient.

RESULTS: Almost all calls (96.6%) to the TTP were answered within 60 seconds and of people referred to the CP 96.0% needed treatment. Proportionately more people from deprived areas used the TTP. Highest utilisation of the TTP was by people aged 20 to 44 years and lowest was by people over 54 years. Cost per patient utilising the TTP was £5.06. Of the available appointments provided by the CP, 90.9% were booked the TTP. Travel time to the CP was less than 30 minutes for 78.0% of patients. Of treatments provided, 77.9% were clinical interventions and 18.1% were prescription only. Proportionately more people from deprived areas attended the CP. Highest utilisation was by people aged 20 to 44 years and lowest by people over 54 years. Nearly half (47.0%) of those attending reported they did not have a dentist. There was a high level of patient satisfaction. Cost per course of treatment at the CP was £67.41.

CONCLUSION: Overall the UDS provided a high quality service in line with Maxwell's dimensions of quality. Timely advice and treatment was provided with high levels of patient satisfaction with the CP. Comparison with other urgent dental service models would determine the relative efficiency of the UDS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-14
Number of pages6
JournalCommunity Dental Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aftercare
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care
  • Appointments and Schedules
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dental Care
  • England
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Middle Aged
  • Needs Assessment
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Prescriptions
  • Referral and Consultation
  • State Dentistry
  • Telephone
  • Transportation of Patients
  • Triage
  • Vulnerable Populations
  • Young Adult


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