Objective: To observe the changes in the criteria for, rate of, and pattern of, referral of child patients from the General Dental Services (GDS) to the Community Dental Services (CDS) which may have occurred following the introduction of capitation as the method of remuneration for general dental practitioners (GDPs) for the treatment of child patients in The new contract 1990.
Design: GDP referral criteria and attitude to capitation were assessed in two districts (North Downs and Weybourne Trusts) using a questionnaire distributed to 179 GDPs. Reasons for referral, and treatment received within the CDS, were collated from the dental records of referred children, before and after the introduction of capitation.
Results: The response rate from the GDPs was 87%, of whom 82% had referred child patients to the CDS. The results showed that 65% of GDPs indicated a preference for treatment of children under a fee per item system, whereas only 17% favoured capitation. Although 60% believed that their referral of patients to the CDS had not changed following capitation, an analysis of the referred children's dental records revealed that there had actually been a 57% increase in the number of referrals from GDPs to CDS following the introduction of capitation. The GDPs considered the most important referral criteria were for non cooperation or general anaesthesia. More cooperative children had been referred and more routine restorative procedures, less inhalation sedation and deciduous extractions were carried out following the introduction of capitation.
Conclusions: This study has shown that following the introduction of capitation there had been an increase in the number of referrals from the GDS to the CDS
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Cooke, L., Davenport, E. & Anderson, P. Changes in the referral pattern of child patients from the GDS to the CDS following the introduction of capitation in October 1990. General Dental Services. Community Dental Services. Br Dent J 185, 586–590 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.4809871
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