Media Release: NHSScotland analysis and modelling of the dental workforce in Scotland

THE report presents statistics on the size and characteristics of the dental
workforce, and outputs of models that predict (a) the future size of the dental
workforce, and (b) the size of the workforce that would be required to meet observed
levels of usage.

Scenarios investigating the potential additional contribution to
oral health provision by Dental Care Professionals (such as Oral Health Therapists)
are also presented. The report is a joint publication between NHS Education for
Scotland (NES) and Information Services of NHSScotland (ISD).

The report is available on the ISD and NES websites, accessible via: or


* There were 2,696 NHS dentists as at 30 September 2005, of whom 2,132 were General
Dental Practitioners (GDPs). The total number of NHS dentists has increased by 17 per cent
from 1995 to 2005.

* The dental supply model shows that the number of GDPs is predicted to continue to
rise over the next 30 years. Results suggest that there will be 2,312 GDPs in 2010;
2,487 in 2020, and 2,618 in 2036.

* Investigation of various scenarios showed that if the rates that Vocational
Trainees (VTs) join the workforce were to increase to the highest level observed,
there would be 2,386 GDPs in 2010 (an additional 74 GDPs over the base prediction).

* The training of Oral Health Therapists (OHTs) has recently expanded, and some
initial modelled estimates have been made on the future workforce size. These
suggest that the number of OHTs will grow by between 16 and 42 per year.

* The dental utilisation model estimates the number of GDPs required to service the
population based on observed levels of utilisation. Accounting for the contribution
to dental service provision from VTs and OHTs, it suggests that 2,309 GDPs are
required in 2006, and 2,400 in 2020.

* Comparisons between the modelling that predicts the future size of the GDP
workforce (supply model) and the numbers of GDPs required (utilisation model)
indicate whether there is a shortage of GDPs relative to historical levels of
service provision, and whether or not the situation is expected to improve with

* The models suggest an additional 120 GDPs are required in 2006, with this gap
disappearing by 2012.

* Further modelling of scenarios suggests that if the rates that VTs join the
workforce were to increase to previously observed highs, the gap could disappear by
as early as 2009.

Ref: 1012


1. The aim of the report is to update previously published work that provided
evidence-based dental workforce planning mechanisms to support the strategic
development of dental services in NHSScotland. The report describes work that is
part of a continuous interactive process to assist workforce planning for dentistry
in Scotland.

2. The report updates models aimed at forecasting the utilisation and supply of
dental services.

3. Information is presented at Scotland-level only. Analyses at lower levels of
geography (eg Health Board areas) will be undertaken.

4. NES is a Special Health Board whose remit is to ensure improved patient care by
empowering Scotland’s healthcare workforce through education, training and lifelong

Its remit currently includes Allied Health Professionals, Audiologists, Clinical
Psychologists, Dentists, Doctors, Healthcare Scientists, Midwives, Nurses, and
Pharmacists. Eventually this will encompass all healthcare staff, with early work
for Administrative and Clerical Staff, ancillary as well as, Finance, Estates and
Environment Staff.

5. ISD collects, collates and maintains a wide range of health service data sets,
which form the national corporate database for NHSScotland. By providing
information, statistical services and effective use of information management and
technology, ISD Scotland contributes to health improvement by informing decision
making, research and debate within NHSScotland, government departments and other
organisations. Information Services (ISD Scotland) is part of NHS National Services
Scotland. For more information about ISD Scotland see the website:

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Contact: Hugh Hopewell Principal Information Analyst Information Services, NHSScotland 0131 275 6392
Christine Cook Head of Communications NHS Education for Scotland 0131 247 6618