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Accident and Emergency Departments: Dental Services

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of attendances at accident and emergency services were related to dental problems in each year since 1997-98. (220993)

Information on the reasons for attendance at accident and emergency departments is not currently available centrally. Plans are in place for the Information Centre for health and social care to make an accident and emergency dataset available within hospital episode statistics in due course, which will include some information about reason for attendance. The publication is at an early stage of development and further work is ongoing to examine the level of detail and completeness of data. It is therefore unclear at the current time whether information on reasons for attendance will be part of the publication.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of admissions to hospital via accident and emergency departments were related to dental problems in each year since 1997-98. (220994)

The information is as follows:

Total number of hospital admissions* via Accident & Emergency (A&E), under the care of 'dental' consultants, as a proportion of all A&E admissions, for years 1997-98 to 2006-07, national health service hospitals England and activity performed in the independent sector in England commissioned by English NHS

Total A&E admissions under 'dental' consultants

All A&E admissions

Proportion of admissions to hospital via A&E which were under 'dental' consultants (percentage)

2006-07

17,736

3,484,367

0.51

2005-06

18,930

3,387,499

0.56

2004-05

17,309

3,148,996

0.55

2003-04

15,926

2,880,242

0.55

2002-03

14,289

2,603,820

0.55

2001-02

13,339

2,496,332

0.53

2000-01

12,963

2,380,985

0.54

1999-2000

12,998

2,315,986

0.56

1998-99

12,250

2,229,459

0.55

1997-98

12,478

2,124,198

0.59

Notes: Main Consultant Specialty Used: 140 = Oral surgery 141 = Restorative dentistry 142 = Paediatric dentistry (available from 1999-2000) 143 = Orthodontics 145 = Oral and maxillo facial surgery (available from 2004-05). Finished admission episodes *The technical term for the data supplied is finished admission episodes. A finished admission episode is the first period of in-patient care under one consultant within one health care provider. Admissions do not represent the number of in-patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the year. Admissions to hospital via A&E include admission methods 21 and 28 (21 = Emergency: via A&E services, including the casualty department of the provider/28 = Emergency: other means, including patients who arrive via the A&E department of another healthcare provider). Data Quality Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) are compiled from data sent by over 300 NHS trusts, and primary care trusts (PCTs) in England. Data are also received from a number of independent sector organisations for activity commissioned by the English NHS. The Information Centre for health and social care liaises closely with these organisations to encourage submission of complete and valid data and seeks to minimise inaccuracies and the effect of missing and invalid data via HES processes. While this brings about improvement over time, some shortcomings remain. Specialty Care is needed when analysing HES data by specialty, or by groups of specialties (such as Acute). Trusts have different ways of managing specialties and attributing codes so it is better to analyse by specific diagnoses, operations or other recorded information. Assessing growth through time HES figures are available from 1989-90 onwards. During the years that these records have been collected by the NHS, there have been ongoing improvements in quality and coverage. These improvements in information submitted by the NHS have been particularly marked in the earlier years and need to be borne in mind when analysing time series. Changes in NHS practice also need to be borne in mind when analysing time series. For example a number of procedures may now be undertaken in out-patient settings and may no longer be accounted in the HES data. This may account for any reductions in activity over time. Ungrossed Data The data are ungrossed. This means no estimates (grossing factors) have been added to the data set to make up for any shortfalls or gaps in the data. Source: HES, The NHS Information Centre for health and social care.