The vocational dental practitioner (VDP) and the trainer from all participating VT practices attended a learning session before implementing their allocated care bundle. At the beginning of the session, information was provided about the evaluation, and VDPs and trainers were invited to complete a baseline questionnaire. The questionnaires were designed to explore beliefs and behaviours towards improving quality in general dental practice, self-reported knowledge and skills towards QI concepts and methodologies as well as current practice in relation to the two care bundles. The TDF was used to guide the choice of questionnaire items. They were also provided with additional questionnaires to distribute to members of other staff groups in their dental practice (eg, dental care professionals (DCPs), administrative staff). Freepost envelopes were provided for return to the evaluation team.

Dental team members from practices that had participated in phase I of the Primary Care Dentistry Collaborative, who had previously attended a learning session, were not required to attend this collaborative learning session. In these practices, information about the evaluation, the baseline questionnaire and freepost envelopes were posted to the member of the practice team recorded as the practice contact. The practice contact was asked to distribute these materials to at least one individual from each staff group (dentist, DCP, administrative staff) in their practice for completion and return.

Follow-up questionnaires were posted to all practices approximately 9 months later. A range of dental team members were again asked to complete the questionnaire and return it to the evaluation team.

Interview participants were chosen using a purposive sampling frame which included a range of professional roles and practice types. Case study practices were selected to include one which was fully compliant with their existing care bundle and one which was not, based on the self-reported questionnaire data.

A pre-notification email and information sheet providing details of interview timescales were sent to participating practices. Following this, participants were contacted by telephone to arrange a convenient date and time for interview. HB practices were asked to nominate one dentist and at least one other member of the dental team to participate in the interviews. In VT practices, the trainer, VDP and at least one other member of the dental team were invited to participate. Participation in case studies was discussed with selected practices by a member of the evaluation team. Interviews with team members from case study practices took place face-to-face as part of the case study visit. In addition, representatives from participating HBs as well as NES VT schemes were contacted by email and invited to be interviewed.

Interview data were collected using semi-structured telephone or face-to-face interviews using open-ended questions and probing. Interview topic guides were developed using the TDF as a broad framework as well as by data from the baseline questionnaire and piloted before use. The topic guide for HB representatives was also partially informed by initial analysis of the dental team member interview data. Interviews were conducted by an experienced qualitative researcher (HC) and a dental core trainee (VM) and digitally recorded with participant consent. A case study observation schedule was developed, and handwritten notes were taken during each practice visit.

Data collection ceased when data saturation was achieved (ie, no new information or insights were gained).

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