Impact of the Covid pandemic on health care equity in NHS General Dental Practice.

Nathan Brown Richard Fenton Sara Harford

Impact of the Covid pandemic on health care equity in NHS General Dental Practice.

Authors: Nathan Brown Richard Fenton Sara Harford
doi: 10.1922/CDH_00226Brown06

Abstract

Introduction: Oral health inequalities existed before Covid, but the pandemic presented an unprecedented challenge for health services. Our aim was to determine whether patient groups at risk of health care inequality due to the pandemic could be identified from NHS dental claims. Methods: Secondary analysis of routinely collected NHS Business Services Authority data for patients treated by General Dental Practitioners in England and Wales between April 2019 and January 2022 to assess the effect of the Covid pandemic on claims for patients attending general dental practices. Data for treatment items claimed after the start of the first lockdown were compared to the pre-lockdown period. Results: The proportion of claims for child fillings, child extractions and child fluoride varnish application after March 2020 were lower than equivalent proportions for adults, in both England and Wales. Similarly, there were consistently fewer claims for fillings and extractions for patients claiming pension credit guarantee credit than all pensioners in both England and Wales. Conclusion: The Covid pandemic may have caused health care inequality for children and patients claiming pension credit guarantee credit. This may compound the inequality in oral health for these patients. Keywords: Oral health, dentistry for children, dentistry for aged, dentistry public health

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