A difference-in-differences analysis of the effect of free dental check-ups in Scotland
The Scottish Government introduced free NHS dental check-ups in April 2006 as a way of encouraging utilisation and improving the oral health of residents. We use data from the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS), a nationally representative data of 117761 individual respondents in the United Kingdom covering the period between 2001 and 2008 to evaluate the impact of this policy on utilisation of NHS dental check-ups in Scotland, using a difference-in-difference approach. Results show that there was a 3–4 percent increase in NHS dental check-up in Scotland, compared to the rest of the UK. Results suggest that a removal of financial barrier to dental check-ups does indeed lead to a modest increase in utilisation, and may have wider implications for the delivery of dental care in Scotland. âº Scotland has a relatively worse oral health compared to England and Wales. âº The Scottish Government introduced free NHS dental check-ups in April 2006 as a way of encouraging utilisation. âº This is the first systematic evaluation of the impact of the introduction of free dental check-ups on utilisation in Scotland. âº Our results show a 3–4% increase in NHS dental check-up, attributed to the free dental check-up policy. âº Increased utilisation of NHS dental care services may have wider implications in terms of cost and sustainability.