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Workforce planning: The specialist map

Sir, in 2014, I was working on a presentation and produced a prototype specialist map which was included in the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry's submission1 to the Commons Health Committee inquiry into Children's Oral Health.2 Graphs and tables are useful but maps give a unique perspective.

Using publicly available data from the GDC specialist's register and a modified postal area map, a 'UK Specialists in Paediatric Dentistry Map' was possible. A more recent version is shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Specialist Paediatric Dentists in the UK in January 2016 according to postal region where registered.
figure 1

Squares represent each specialist and shaded areas have no GDC entry

Part-time and full-time specialists cannot be determined and some locations are not the place of work. The percentage of administration and face-to-face clinical time cannot be determined nor can the proportion of private and NHS care. Population data are not superimposed. This prototype is rather crude but it is a start.

If the GDC modified their database slightly as well as requiring the main work address, both the profession and government may better estimate what specialists are doing and where in the NHS.

If all specialities were mapped and placed in specialist layers on a single map, different specialty distributions may be observed by digitally adding and subtracting layers. Mapping by the GDC of clinicians registered with them has significant potential and we could see dental therapist maps for example too. Mapping products may be of commercial interest giving the GDC another income stream.

Table 1


  1. Written evidence submitted by the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry (COH0014). 18 February 2015. Available at: (accessed March 2016).

  2. House of Commons Health Committee. Oral evidence: Children's oral health, HC 1912. Tuesday 24 February 2015. Available at: (accessed March 2016).

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Mills, R. Workforce planning: The specialist map. Br Dent J 220, 221 (2016).

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