An assessment of capitation in the General Dental Service Contract 2. Patterns of treatment provided to regularly attending patients

A. C. Mellor, A. S. Blinkhorn, D. C. Hassall, P. J. Holloway, H. V. Worthington

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Objective: To compare the patterns of treatment of general dental practitioners working under fee-for-service in 1987/88 with those working under capitation in 1992/93. Design: 73 randomly selected general dental practitioners working under capitation in three contrasting areas in England retrospectively recorded the treatment provided during 1992/93 to a random selection of their regularly attending 6-12- and 14-15-year-old patients. Results: Mean numbers of examinations per year reduced in the three areas from 1.7-1.8 in 1987/88 to 1.2-1.4 in 1992/93. Mean numbers of visits per patient dropped from 2.5-2.9 to 1.8-2.2. Mean numbers of fillings in permanent teeth reduced from 0.15-1.04 to 0.09-0.52 and in deciduous teeth from 0.28-0.53 to 0.24-0.31. Mean percentages of children per dentist having extractions fell from 9.3-28.1% to 4.7-16.2% while the radiographs reduced from 14.0-9.0% to 6.0-10.6%. Mean percentages of children per dentist receiving oral hygiene instruction rose from 18-31% in 1987/88 to 26-33% in 1992/93. Dietary advice increased from 3-18% to 11-20% and fissure sealants from 3-6% to 3-12%. Conclusions: In 1992/93, dentists working under capitation were carrying out fewer examinations, fillings and extractions and were taking fewer radiographs for their regularly attending child and adolescent patients than dentists working under fee-for-service in 1987/88. These patients also attended less frequently for treatment but received marginally more preventive care and advice.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)460-464
    Number of pages4
    JournalBritish Dental Journal
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 28 Jun 1997


    • Adolescent
    • Capitation Fee
    • Child
    • economics: Dental Care
    • statistics & numerical data: Dental Restoration, Permanent
    • Diet
    • epidemiology: England
    • Fees, Dental
    • statistics & numerical data: General Practice, Dental
    • statistics & numerical data: Health Education, Dental
    • Humans
    • education: Nutrition Physiology
    • statistics & numerical data: Oral Hygiene
    • statistics & numerical data: Patient Education as Topic
    • statistics & numerical data: Physician's Practice Patterns
    • therapeutic use: Pit and Fissure Sealants
    • statistics & numerical data: Radiography, Dental
    • Retrospective Studies
    • economics: State Medicine
    • statistics & numerical data: Tooth Extraction
    • Tooth, Deciduous


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