Managing resources in NHS dentistry: the views of decision-makers in primary care organisations

Richard Holmes, Cam Donaldson, Catherine Exley, Jimmy Steele

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate priority setting and decision-making in primary care organisations and to determine how resources are managed in order to meet the oral health needs of local populations. Method: This is a qualitative study. The purposive sample comprised twelve dental public health consultants and six senior finance representatives from contrasting care systems across the United Kingdom. Participants completed a written information sheet followed by a recorded semi-structured telephone interview. Conversations were professionally transcribed verbatim and analysed independently by two investigators using the constant comparative method. Results: The emergent themes focused upon: the role of participants in decision-making; professional relationships; managing change; information needs; and identifying and managing priorities. There was wide interpretation with respect to participants' roles and perceived information needs for decision-making and commissioning. A unifying factor was the importance placed by participants upon trust and the influence of individuals on the success of relationships forged between primary care organisations and general dental practitioners. Conclusion: To facilitate decision-making in primary care organisations, commissioners and managers could engage further with practitioners and incorporate them into commissioning and resource allocation processes. Greater clarity is required regarding the role of dental public health consultants within primary care organisations and commissioning decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberE11
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number6
Early online date5 Sept 2008
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2008


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