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Evaluating the provision of dental health services in Portsmouth

In 2008 a Primary Care Trust commissioned NEMS Market Research to conduct a representative dental health survey among adults across the PCT. 5,002 adults were sampled to assess dental health levels and determine access to NHS dental health services.

Key benefits:

  • Defined targeting of deprived areas
  • Identified need to educate people about NHS dental services
  • Regular check-ups are key
Very happy with the service provided by NEMS.
Campbell Todd, - Portsmouth tPCT

Our Assigment

The main objectives of the study were to:

  • measure overall levels of denta
  • determine existing patterns of NHS dental health servic
  • provide quantified ward level information to steer future commissioning of NHS dental services within the PCT area.


Results were weighted to be representative of Census 2001 gender, age and ward population profiles.
The average tooth count was 26, slightly higher than that recorded 10 years earlier across the PCT. Annually, almost three quarters (73%) visited the dentist, with women being more likely than men. In the 12 months leading up to the study almost a third (31%) had experienced pain in their teeth, mouth or gums.
Compared to 10 years earlier general dental health across the PCT has improved slightly. Yet, the difficulty of getting NHS treatment, was notably higher; resulting in many choosing private dental care. This translated into around 14,000 adults having unsuccessfully tried to find an NHS dentist in the past 12 months.


The difficulty in finding NHS dental care is down to how people are looking, with some methods proving more successful than others. This points towards there being considerable scope in the education of people as to where they should be seeking information on NHS dental services.
The general level of dental health in areas of higher deprivation is lower than average, as is the attendance at dentists for routine care. Availability of close proximity dental surgeries in these high deprivation areas is notably below average.
While the prediction of future demand for dental health services is a function of a number of indeterminates, the ward by ward figures indicate that considerable increases would be evident if regular dental check-ups were to become more the norm.

Our Approach

4,800 telephone interviews, with a further 202 face-to-face interviews to boost harder-to-reach groups such as 16-24 year olds. The sample was quota controlled on gender and age.

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