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Managing resources in NHS dentistry: the views of decision-makers in primary care organisations

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Richard HolmesORCiD, Professor Cam Donaldson, Professor Catherine Exley, Emeritus Professor Jimmy Steele CBE


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Objective To investigate priority setting and decision-making in primary care organisations and to determine how resources are managed in order to meet the oral health needs of local populations. Method This is a qualitative study. The purposive sample comprised twelve dental public health consultants and six senior finance representatives from contrasting care systems across the United Kingdom. Participants completed a written information sheet followed by a recorded semi-structured telephone interview. Conversations were professionally transcribed verbatim and analysed independently by two investigators using the constant comparative method. Results The emergent themes focused upon: the role of participants in decision-making; professional relationships; managing change; information needs; and identifying and managing priorities. There was wide interpretation with respect to participants' roles and perceived information needs for decision-making and commissioning. A unifying factor was the importance placed by participants upon trust and the influence of individuals on the success of relationships forged between primary care organisations and general dental practitioners. Conclusion To facilitate decision-making in primary care organisations, commissioners and managers could engage further with practitioners and incorporate them into commissioning and resource allocation processes. Greater clarity is required regarding the role of dental public health consultants within primary care organisations and commissioning decisions.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Holmes RD, Donaldson C, Exley C, Steele JG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Dental Journal

Year: 2008

Volume: 205

Issue: 6

Pages: -

ISSN (print): 0007-0610

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5373

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group