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Our research

Medical tools

The Dental Postgraduate Section has an established engagement with research and evaluation, in collaboration with Cardiff Unit for Research and Evaluation in Medical and Dental Education (CUREMeDE). The section regularly monitors course delivery and seeks innovative opportunities to ensure that they continue to meet the evolving needs of the Welsh dental workforce. This section provides examples of our ongoing and recent activity.

Optimising skill mix in dentistry: dental therapists, direct access and the future

The multi-organisational collaborative project including members from Dental Postgraduate Section, Cardiff University School of Dentistry, CUREMeDE, and Aneurin Bevan University Health Board have recently completed a two year, Health and Care Research Wales-funded research project into skill-mix in dentistry. Our aim was to better understand how to make the best use of the dental team and operate prudent healthcare within current regulations and guidance. The study explored what works, why and in what circumstance via a series of case studies with general dental practices across south and west Wales and a structured review of the research literature. Drawing upon these findings we developed practical training courses and a self-evaluation toolkit (Skills-Optimisation Self-Evaluation Tool (SOSET)) to help dental practices work out how ready they are for skill-mix changes and set action plans. The results have been presented internationally (IADR, ADEE) and publications are currently in press.

View the Dental Therapists’ and Hygienists’ Training Needs for Direct Access Poster

See the research project on Prime Centre Wales website

Evaluation of new multi-professional collaborative programmes

We have developed a new collaboration bringing together practitioners from dentistry, general practice and pharmacy, providing events which address topics relevant to all three groups. We are carrying out evaluations to support this programme by reporting on the motivations of the different professional groups and identifying the future educational content each group wishes to see in the events. Evaluation of the first two sessions were presented at the Developing Excellence in Medical Education Conference (DEMEC) and Royal Pharmaceutical Society Winter Summit in 2017. 


Antimicrobial prescribing

In collaboration with 1000 Lives Plus and the School of Dentistry, we have developed an antimicrobial prescribing audit for dentists.

Antimicrobial resistance represents a serious threat to public health. This programme of work aims to address inappropriate or inaccurate prescribing in general dental practices in Wales. This is the second cycle of the national audit. The results from the first cycle were published in the British Dental Journal:

Cope A, Barnes E, Howells EP, Rockey AM, Karki AJ, Wilson MJ, Lewis MAO and Cowpe J. (2016) Antimicrobial prescribing by dentists in Wales, UK: findings of the first cycle of a clinical audit. British Dental Journal 221 (1), 25-30 doi:10.1038/sj.bdj.2016.496

Maturity matrix dentistry

The Maturity Matrix Dentistry (MMD) is a practice development tool for the whole dental team which helps dental teams deliver high quality care for patients.

The Maturity Matrix (MM) was originally designed as a self-evaluation practice development tool for Primary Care and Pharmacy teams. The MM was designed as a means of measuring current practice, allowing the practice team to identify key areas for improvement, prioritise any interventions and support improvements in quality. A paper outlining the steps taken in adapting the MM for use with dental teams has been published:

Barnes E, Howells E, Marshall K, Cowpe J, Bullock A and Thomas H. (2012) Development of the Maturity Matrix Dentistry (MMD): A primary care dental team development tool, British Dental Journal, 212(12) 583-7 doi: 10.1038/sj.bdj.2012.523

Other evaluations

Barnes E, Bullock AD, Moons K, Sandom F, and Cowpe JG. (2015) Dental Therapists’ and Hygienists’ Training Needs for Direct Access. Presented at International Association for Dental Research Annual Meeting, Boston, USA. Prize winner in Educational Research category. (Have poster if you want it)

Barnes E, Moons K, Bullock A, Hannington D, Cowpe J and Rockey A. (2014) The Introduction to Practice (ItP) scheme for therapists in Wales: an evaluation of the first three years. Dental Health: A Journal of the British Society of Dental Hygiene & Therapy, 53 (1), pp. 32-36.

Cowpe JG, Barnes E and Bullock AD. (2013) Skill-mix in general dental practice teams in Wales, Vital. 10(2):38-43

Moons K, Evans S, Lightowlers M, Bullock A. & Barnes E. (2012) Dental nurses' perception of CPD in Wales, Vital, 9, 19-23.