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Barriers to improving endodontic care: The views of NHS practitioners

Lookup NU author(s): Emerita Professor Elaine McCollORCiD, Monica Smith, Professor John Whitworth, Emeritus Professor Jimmy Steele CBE


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Aims. Concerns have been expressed about the technical quality of NHS endodontic treatment. Bringing performance into line with guidelines for good practice needs to be underpinned by an understanding of barriers to compliance. To this end, our research involved an exploratory investigation of the factors influencing the behaviour of general dental practitioners in their practice of endodontics. Materials and methods. Subjects 12 dental practitioners, representative of varying levels of professional experience and status, and of compliance with good practice guidelines. Data collection In-depth interviews, following a topic guide. Analysis Identification, abstraction and charting of major themes. Findings. Informants' responses suggested that general dental practitioners' endodontic practice is influenced by a complex web of factors. A key barrier to high quality treatment is the NHS remuneration scheme. Undergraduate and postgraduate education and training are also highly influential on practice. Dentists reported employing a range of strategies to manage the time-cost tensions imposed by the remuneration system. Perceived deficiencies in the content and delivery of postgraduate training were highlighted by our informants. Conclusions. There was a perception among our informants that the NHS fee structure needs to be revised. Their views suggest that a system which rewards quality rather than volume may be more appropriate, but, we believe, such a system would need to take into account efficiency as well as effectiveness. Modification of the current system of postgraduate training in endodontics is also indicated by the views expressed in the interviews. From the diversity of views and from a critical review of the literature, we conclude that flexibility is the key note in changing practice, with no single strategy likely to be universally appropriate. © British Dental Journal.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McColl E; Whitworth J; Steele J; Smith M; Seccombe G

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Dental Journal

Year: 1999

Volume: 186

Issue: 11

Pages: 564-568

Print publication date: 12/06/1999

ISSN (print): 0007-0610

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5373


DOI: 10.1038/sj.bdj.4800170

PubMed id: 10405471