Public transport access to NHS dental care in Great Britain

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Abstract

Objective Access to transport is a common barrier to oral health. Greater dependence on public transport has shown delayed oral healthcare, lack of usual source of care and greater unmet health needs. This study examined the spatial accessibility of the population of Great Britain to public transport in providing access to oral healthcare. Methods A total of 8,791 dental practices in Great Britain were identified and geocoded. There were 10,444 rail, metro and light rail stops and 348,961 bus and tram stops. Geographic information systems were utilised to integrate the dental practice locations and public transport points to respective census tracts of each nation containing population data, deprivation measures, and classification of rural and urban areas. Results Almost all dental clinics in Great Britain were located within 400 m of bus and tram stops or 800 m of a rail, metro or light rail stop. Similarly, in Scotland and England, 92% lived within any public transport (within 400m of bus and tram stops or 800m of a rail, metro or light rail stop), and in Wales, 84.2% lived within any public transport stop. However, only 75.1%, 79.6% and 60.4% of the population of Scotland, England and Wales had access to a high-frequency bus stop, respectively. In Scotland, England and Wales, 40.7%, 33.7% and 38.3% of rural residents did not have access to any public transport and only 4.9%, 7.5% and 14.6% of the rural residents had access to an optimal bus stop, respectively. In Wales, 19.5% of older adults do not have access to a bus stop. Conclusion Some transport-disadvantaged groups do not have adequate access to public transport services. There is a compelling need to address public transport integration with oral health facilities to ensure equality in accessing integral services.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Dental Journal
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 May 2021

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