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P106 Measuring the impact of COVID-19 on planned NHS dentistry provision and working hours; A cross sectional study
  1. Kate Levin1,
  2. Richard Bairstow2,
  3. Gail Douglas2
  1. 1Public Health Directorate, NHS GGC, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2Leeds Dental School, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK


Background An international study of dental practise across 36 countries during the pandemic concluded that oral health provision had not been significantly affected. This study examines the impact of COVID-19 on provision of NHS care and hours worked by dentists in the UK.

Methods Dentists were surveyed in the UK in June and July 2020. 4,637 primary care dentists responded, approximately 12% of UK practitioners. Summary statistics described planned changes in NHS provision and weekly hours of work. Univariate and multivariable multilevel modelling were carried out for individuals nested by country with outcome variables ‘change in proportion of NHS provision’ and ‘change in hours worked’, adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, role, current working hours, current proportion of NHS provision, experience of COVID-19 and COVID-19 risk status.

Results Of the 2409 who responded to questions about working hours, 18.6% reported no change planned, 41.4% planned a reduction in hours and 40.0% planned an increase. Overall, mean change of -1.39 hours. Similarly, of the 1894, who responded to NHS provision questions, 32.5% reported no plan to change their NHS provision, of which 33% were fully private, 53.1% planned to reduce their NHS provision (and increase private care provision) and 14.5% planned to increase NHS provision. NHS provision change had a mean of -12.5% with largest planned reductions in Northern Ireland (mean -17.6%) and Scotland (-15.3%). Under a multilevel linear model, older age was associated with an increase in NHS provision planned (each additional year of age was associated with 0.12% (0.02%, 0.23%). No experience of COVID-19 was associated with a planned increase of 4.76% (1.73%, 7.78%) relative to having COVID-19 symptoms and being a Locum, relative to Principal, was associated with a reduction of -24.00% (-39.22%, -8.78%) in planned NHS provision. Similarly, higher current NHS provision and being a Principal dentist was associated with additional hours planned, while being a Locum was associated with reduction in planned hours. Being in a high COVID-19 risk category was associated with a reduction of -5.89 (-11.70, -0.07) hours, relative to being low risk, while having moderate risk was associated with a reduction of -2.94 (-4.60, -1.27) hours.

Conclusion The findings suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown are associated with a reduction in hours among Locums, and dental practitioners in high COVID-19 risk group and a reduction in planned NHS dental provision, particularly among younger dental practitioners, Locums and those with more severe COVID-19 experience.

  • COVID-19
  • dentistry
  • NHS

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