Summary of: A survey of dental hygienists in the United Kingdom in 2011. Part 1-demographics and working patterns as dental hygienists

Kenneth A. Eaton*, M. Harris, M. K. Ross, C. Arevalo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: The aims of this survey were to establish the demographic profile of dental hygienists (DHs) and dental hygienist/therapists (DH/Ts) in the United Kingdom in 2011 and their patterns of practice as DHs. Methods: A 10% sample of all those registered with the General Dental Council as DHs or DH/Ts in April 2011 were sent a pre-piloted questionnaire, explanatory letter and stamped addressed envelope. The questionnaire contained a total of 100 questions, 24 of which related to demographics and working patterns. All 100 questions were solely on tasks/work performed by DH, none related to other types of work performed by DH/Ts. Three mailings were distributed between May and July 2011. The resulting data were entered into an Excel spreadsheet. Where appropriate, differences between the responses from DHs and DH/Ts were statistically tested with the chi-squared test. Results: Five hundred and sixty-one DHs and DH/Ts were sent the questionnaire, by the third mailing 371 (66.1%) had responded and returned completed questionnaires. The respondents were 288 DHs, 79 DH/Ts and 4 who did not specify which category they were. The mean year of qualification of the DHs was 1990 and for the DH/Ts 2005. One hundred and twenty-four (33%) reported that they worked full-time, 235 (63%) part-time and the remainder that they were not working as DHs or DH/Ts or had retired. The average number of clinical hours worked per week was reported as 24.6 hours for DHs and 25 hours for DH/Ts, but there were regional variations. For DHs the mean percentage of patients treated under NHS contract was 15.5% and for DH/Ts it was 40.2%. Again there were regional variations and in Scotland these figures were 45.5% for DHs and 70% for DH/Ts. Two hundred and forty-eight (69%) of all respondents were either fully or partly self-employed and 221 (62.7%) worked in two or more locations. Conclusions: The results of this study provide a snapshot of the demographics and practice patterns of DHs and DH/Ts in the UK in the summer of 2011. They confirm the results of a survey that was conducted in England in early 2011 and of a survey that took place in Scotland in 2009.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)514-515
Number of pages2
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


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