Background Conscious dental sedation is commissioned by NHS England for patients who are unable to accept dental treatment under local anaesthetic and behavioural techniques alone. Dental sedation provided by NHS England is carried out on a referral basis but this can be carried out in a primary or secondary care setting. This paper reports a study carried out to improve NHS dental services by supporting the work of multiple NHS England area teams in reviews of sedation services. Aim The aim of this paper is to identify variations in the provision of sedation services by NHS providers across England and explore possible factors affecting this variation. Method The project makes use of the recently developed NHS Business Services Authority (BSA) national public health data set, which Public Health England has developed in association with the BSA. Results Variations in population experience of sedation in England have been graphically demonstrated using a comprehensive BSA data set which captures all general dental service and public dental service (GDS/PDS) activity for a two-year period. There are wide and significant variations in population experience of sedation across England. Conclusion The variations in population experience of sedation across England are difficult to explain on purely clinical grounds.
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