The future of dentistry post-COVID-19: perspectives from Urgent Dental Care centre staff in England
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Introduction While routine dentistry was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, Urgent Dental Care centres (UDCs) were established to support patients with urgent dental needs.Aim The study aimed to provide insights and recommendations on future dental reform based on the perspectives of frontline staff delivering dental care in UDCs.Method A qualitative research study using a phenomenological approach. A hybrid approach that incorporated both a deductive and an inductive approach to analysis was adopted.Results The sample included 29 dentists and nine dental nurses providing care at UDCs in England during the pandemic. The following predominant themes were identified: patient care and access, practice viability, workforce sustainability, identity of dentistry and contract reform.Conclusions The pandemic has highlighted the desire from the dental profession for urgent reform of the current NHS dental contract in England. This was directed towards a more resilient, responsive and equitable dental service that is better prepared for current and future challenges.
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