National evaluation of personal dental services (PDS) first wave pilots: main findings and policy implications

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Personal dental services (PDS) are new forms of NHS dental care in England that employ a locally negotiated contract as opposed to one based on a nationally negotiated scale of fees. These schemes have been specifically designed to tackle local problems related to access and oral health needs. This practice paper examines the main findings of a Department of Health-funded evaluation from 20 first and second wave PDS pilots. The paper reveals that all PDS pilots changed treatment profiles in an attempt to meet local oral health needs and/or promote access to NHS dentistry. Moreover, PDS pilots appeared to encourage a new skill-mix, provide job satisfaction and improve working conditions. PDS pilots appear to have provided an opportunity to change the culture of primary dental care provision to one based on quality rather than on activity and cost. Their experiences should help inform the implementation of NHS Dentistry: Options for Change.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)640-643
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2003