Unlocking the potential of NHS primary care dental datasets

Deborah Moore*, Thomas Allen, Dwayne Boyers, Kate McKenzie, Wendy Thompson, Blessing Nyakutsikwa, Iain Pretty, Martin Tickle

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Introduction Maximising the use of routinely collected health data for research is a key part of the UK Government's Industrial Strategy. Rich data are generated by NHS primary care dental services, but the extent of their use in research is unknown. Aims To profile the utility of the post-2006 NHS dental datasets for research, map how they have been used to date and develop recommendations to maximise their utility. Methods The content of and access to the four UK NHS dental datasets was collated using publicly available information and a free-text questionnaire, completed by the relevant data controllers. A scoping review was carried out to identify and map literature that has utilised NHS dental activity data. Results The contents of the UK NHS dental activity datasets are described, alongside how they may be accessed for research. Strengths and weaknesses of these datasets for research are highlighted. The scoping review identified 33 studies which had utilised NHS dental activity data since 2006. We classified 15 as public health practice, 11 as service evaluation and 7 as research. Conclusion In comparision to other NHS activity datasets, it appears that the UK dental datasets have been underutilised for research. We make 11 recommendations on how their utility for research may be increased.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)241-250
Publication statusPublished - 25. Feb 2022


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