Patients seen shows the number of adult patients who received NHS dental care in the previous 24 months, where their last CoT started within the past 24 months.
For children the measure shows the number who received NHS dental care in the previous 12 months, where their last CoT started within the past 12 months.
The time periods are aligned with the recommended longest interval between dental checks in the Oral and Dental Health NICE guidance.
Before Q1 2016-17 child patients seen related to the number of children seen in the previous 24 months. This represents a break in the time series, child patient seen data from June 2016 (Q1 2016-17) are not comparable to previous publications. Data for adults remains comparable.
Orthodontic patients are included in the patients seen counts.
Information is taken from the FP17 form and based on the date of validation processing at NHS Dental Services. Any CoT started but not processed within the period will not appear in the 12 or 24 month count.
This differs from the methodology used to measure activity, which measures the number of CoT which end within a given period. The activity methodology requires further time for FP17 forms to be submitted to and processed by NHS Dental Services. Because of this, patients seen figures are available earlier than activity data.
Each patient is counted only once even if they have received several episodes of care over the period. Unique patients are identified by using surname, first initial, gender and date of birth, although inevitably there will be some duplication and omissions.
- patients will be omitted if two or more share the same surname, initial, sex and date of birth
- patients may be counted twice if they have two or more episodes of care and their name is misspelled or changed (e.g. on marriage) between those episodes of care.
The risk of duplication increases, if the episodes of care are at different practices. Duplication and omissions are unlikely to affect the overall count by more than one or two per cent.
Patient age is calculated as at the last day of the 24 or 12 month period. A child is defined as aged under 18.
The 18-64 adult patients seen age band is a derived field i.e. 18-64 is derived using the following calculation:
18+ age band - (65-74 age band + 75-84 age band + 85+ age band)
Information on the number of patients seen as a proportion of the population is also published, using Office for National Statistics (ONS) mid-year population estimates. These are most closely aligned with the mid-point of the patients seen reporting period.
For example, the adult patients seen measure for the 24 month period up to 31 March 2017, covers 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2017. The latest available population mid year estimates are used to calculate population estimates.
Population figures supplied by the ONS relate to the estimated residential population of an area. This may have an impact on sub-national population based measures in that patients being treated within an ICB may not necessarily be a resident of that ICB; the numerator (number of patients seen) may include patients who are not captured in the denominator (ONS residential population) as, for example, they may live close to the boundary and their dentist falls into a different ICB.
Dental data in this publication does not include the Isles of Scilly however population counts for the Isles of Scilly are included and therefore the proportion of activity/patients seen may be lower than expected. Separate population CSV files are published as part of the 2022-23 publication to allow for this differentiation.