June 2006

Volume 23, Issue 2

The equity of access to primary dental care for children in the North East of England

Authors: N. Steen D.P. Landes P. Maunder
doi:

Abstract

Objectives To determine the equity of access to dental care from general dental practitioners for children aged 0 to 17 years. Basic research design Postcode data was obtained from the Dental Practice Board for children registered with an NHS dentist. There were 146,180 children aged 0 to 17 years old resident in the study area, these were mapped to their ward of residence. The child registration rate for wards was calculated, using 2001 census data. The level of deprivation for wards was obtained using a standard indicator, the Index of Multiple Deprivation. Setting The Durham and Tees Valley Strategic Health Authority area in the North East of England. The Authority has a population of 1.13 million, of which 260,000 were aged 0 to 17, in 2001. There are approximately 170 dental practices in the Authority area contained in 251 Wards. Results The range of child registration rates in wards was, 11% to 90%. There was a significant negative association between the number of children registered with a dental practice and increasing deprivation. For every 10 point increase in the deprivation score the probability of registration reduced by 5% of the overall rate. The probability of registration reduced less in those wards with a dental practice compared to those without a dental practice with increasing deprivation. Conclusions There are significant inequalities in access to dental care. Children living in deprived wards access general dental practices less than those living in wealthier wards. The location of dental practices may reduce inequalities in access. Key words: access, children, dental services, deprivation, equity

£10 single article

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