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Measuring oral health: does your treatment really make a difference

Lookup NU author(s): Patrick Allen, Emeritus Professor Jimmy Steele CBE


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An understanding of a broader concept of health is increasingly important for all health professionals, including dentists, and has recently been incorporated as ct key principle in the Government White Paper, The New NHS1. This aims to deliver a dependable, high quality, egalitarian health service. In the past, performance measurements in the UK have often relied simply on those areas which are most easily quantified. For example, within the hospital service, performance was measured in terms of the cost and the number of finished consultant episodes, from which the 'purchaser efficiency index' was calculated. this tended to produce a driving force rewarding those doing more rather than those doing more better. It is analogous to the system which has been the backbone of NHS dental practice for many years, 'fee per item of service', where throughput is rewarded rather than outcome. However, the White Paper has signalled a move away from simply counting activity. From April 1999 within the hospital service the purchaser efficiency index has been replaced with more rounded measures, reflecting the changing concepts of health, in a new broader performance framework to determine what really counts for patients. It will focus on measuring health improvement, fairer access, better quality and outcome, including the views of patients.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Steele JG; Allen PF; Corson MA; Boyd T; Kind P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Dental Journal

Year: 1999

Volume: 187

Issue: 9

Pages: 481-484

Print publication date: 01/11/1999

ISSN (print): 0007-0610

ISSN (electronic): 1476-5373

Publisher: Nature Publishing Group