The Trust's interest in the problems of dental services began with an effort to discover how far the concept of group practice, so successful in general medical practice, could be applied in general dental practice. A practical experiment and demonstration was in mind.
After considerable enquiry and abortive negotiations directed to the setting up of one or two experimental group practices, the conclusion was reached that, before any further attempts at experiment, it would be wise to review the available facts about the dental services, with a view to judging the strength of the evidence for the various statements which seemed to influence thought and policy about dental services and the dental profession.
This conclusion was clearly born of a belief that sometimes, at least, thought and action on social questions is better directed if the relevant data has first been systematically assembled and assessed. Facts alone can rarely determine decisions; but decisions reached in ignorance of the facts may be increasingly wayward.
The search for the facts needs experience and skill and the Trust was indeed fortunate in being able to enlist the services of Professor C. A. Moser and his colleagues to make a reconnaissance of the data which is or could readily be made available about the dental health services. The results of this reconnaissance are recorded in the following pages. The conclusions, understandably modest, point clearly in certain directions where there is promise that better knowledge can be obtained. The Trust hopes that as a result other will be spurred and assisted to check their views about dental services.
It is hoped too, that this exercise concerned with the assembly and assessment of facts about a social service which has not hitherto come under searching review may have its lesson for those considering studies of other social questions.
Moser CA, Gales KE and Morpurgo PWR (1962) Dental health and the dental services: An assessment of available data. Nuffield Trust.