Scottish Dental Practice Research Network (SDPBRN)

The Scottish Dental Practice Based Research Network (SDPBRN) is a network of dentists in GDS, Community, and Hospital Services, Dental Public Health, dental educators, DCPs, Vocational Training trainers and trainees, policy makers and researchers interested in conducting research to inform and encourage evidence-based dental primary care practice. Directed by Professor Jan Clarkson, SDPBRN is funded by NHS Education for Scotland and supported by University of Dundee Dental Health Services Research Unit/Dundee Dental School, University of Glasgow Dental School, the Edinburgh Dental Institute and Aberdeen Dental School.

SDPBRN initiates, develops, conducts and facilitates high quality research in the primary care setting.  This research relies on the partnership and participation of a wide range of dentists, DCPs, educators, policy makers and researchers.  A pool of more than 50 research active dentists has been established as “Rapid Evaluation Practitioners” who inform and take part in a variety of research studies.

SDPBRN research activities generate primary evidence, develop, implement and evaluate educational and policy quality assurance and improvement initiatives and provide support to healthcare professionals undertaking higher research degrees.  Research findings are based on real practice experience, informed by the people providing actual care.

In addition, SDPBRN offers training such as the Remote and Rural Training days, contributes to the provision of CPD educational events and provides support to external grant funding applications.  A national research symposium is organised on a regular basis providing an opportunity to showcase the latest in dental practice based research.  The symposium is a well attended event with academics and practitioners alike. Biannual newsletters are a valuable resource for all practitioners highlighting current research activities and service developments.

Selected Recent and Current SDPBRN Projects

  1. Combined Practice Inspection (CPI): SDPBRN conducted a substantive collaborative quality improvement and patient safety project to develop and pilot a single Combined Practice Inspection checklist that fulfilled the needs of both NES and territorial health broads and supported the implementation of the national standards for dental services. The CPI checklist and process was implemented nationally across Scotland in January 2013.  With SDCEP, SDPBRN is leading the gathering and synthesis of feedback on the CPI checklist and process to inform a review and update in 2014.
  2. Patient Experience Questionnaire (PEQ): As part of the CPI project and in collaboration with NHSScotland’s Patient Experience Programme,a patient experience questionnaire (PEQ) was developed and piloted in the general and salaried dental services. The pilot PEQ also formed the basis for a NES pre-approved, national audit.  Following analysis of patient feedback gathered during the pilots a small number of revisions to the PEQ were recommended.  These are currently being considered by the Dental Quality Improvement Standards Group and on completion of any final revisions, the PEQ will implemented in the salaried dental service in all regional Health Boards in Scotland.
  3. Developing an Oral Health Information System for Scotland: In collaboration with PSD, ISD, the University of Glasgow and consultants in Dental Public Health, SDPBRN is supporting the development of a national system to gather population oral health information in general practice.  SDPBRN completed a feasibility pilot and is currently working with the Chief Dental Officer’s ADHS Working Group to further develop and take forward wider implementation of this initiative in general practice.
  4. Undergraduate education: An annual survey of final year undergraduate students in all dental schools in Scotland is conducted and reported to help quality assure and develop the undergraduate curriculums. In 2013 this survey was revised to reflect the GDC’s ‘Preparing for practice: Dental team learning outcomes for registration’ publication.
  5. Patient Safety: SDPBRN is supporting the NES Dental Patient Safety Workstream Lead to develop a Safety Climate questionnaire to support dental teams evaluate and improve the safety climate in their practice, in collaboration with the NES medical directorate.
  6. Contribution to externally funded projects:  SDPBRN is supporting three, HTA funded, UK-wide randomised controlled trials (IQuaD, INTERVAL, FiCTION) to answer gaps in evidence demonstrated by Cochrane Oral Health Group systematic reviews. The clinical focus of the trials is the impact of scale and polish and oral hygiene advice on periodontal health (IQuaD), the impact of risk-based dental recall on periodontal health, caries experience and oral health related quality of life (INTERVAL) and the impact of different management strategies for dental caries in children on pain and sepsis (FiCTION). SDPBRN has contributed to the scientific development and management of these trials, practitioner and patient recruitment and the development of educational resources for dentists allocated to the intervention groups. SDPBRN is also supporting a CSO funded study (HOPSCOTCH, CZH/4/917) exploring the feasibility of gathering epidemiological data in the primary dental care setting to establish the prevalence and incidence of oral Human Papilloma Virus infection. This feasibility study will inform the development of a larger study with outcomes that could inform policy and practice in terms of education and materials, and contribute to future national surveillance and screening programmes.

For further information about SDPBRN, visit the SDPBRN website.

Research Team

Professor Jan Clarkson, Co-Director DHSRU
Dr Linda Young, Research Manager (NES), Member DHSRU
Mr Steve Turner, Senior Researcher
Dr Anna Rose Templeton, Research Fellow
Miss Gillian Forbes, Research Fellow
Mrs Lorna Barnsley, Administrator