Patients’ attendance patterns to different healthcare settings and perceptions of stakeholders regarding screening for chronic, non-communicable diseases in high street dental practices and community pharmacy: a cross-sectional study

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Objective: Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) impose a significant health and economic burden. This study aimed to assess the differential attendance patterns of public to different healthcare professionals and gauge the opinions of key-stakeholders towards screening of NCDs by allied healthcare professionals.

Design: Questionnaires were designed piloted, and subsequently completed by key-stakeholders. The results were analysed descriptively.

Setting: Public questionnaires were undertaken in a West-Midlands transport station and Public Markets. High-street dental and community pharmacy settings were selected via local clinical and research networks. Healthcare professionals were identified using professional networks and were e-mailed a web-link to an online survey.

Participants: 1371 members of the public, 1548 patients and 222 healthcare professionals (doctors [GP], dentists [GDP] and pharmacists) completed the questionnaires.

Outcome Measures: The outcome was to compare attendance patterns at GDP and GP practices to determine whether different populations were more likely to access different healthcare professionals, this included determining when patients were last screened for NCDs by their GP. Additionally the willingness of patients to undergo the required intervention and the opinions of stakeholders regarding the concept of screening for the specified NCDs in general dental and community pharmacy settings were also explored.

Results: 12% of patients who reported seeing a GDP bi-annually reported that they had not had contact with a GP in the last year. Over 61% of the public reported attending a GDP bi-annually, of this group 48% reported having never had a check-up at the GP. All stakeholders surveyed were in broad support of the concept of allied health professionals undertaking screening for specific general health conditions.

Conclusions: This study has established that allied healthcare professionals may have access to different cohorts of the population to GPs. If GDPs and pharmacists have access to patients who are not utilising healthcare services elsewhere, they may be ideally placed to risk-assess, and where appropriate offer preventative advice and test for NCDs.


Original languageEnglish
Article numbere024503
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ open
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2018


  • Allied Healthcare Professionals, Dentist, Community-Pharmacist, Non-communicable diseases, Patient perception, Public perception