Patient Assessment Questionnaire (PAQ)

PAQs is one of four assessment methods required to be undertaken during your Dental Vocational Training (DVT) year to provide evidence of satisfactory completion of training. 

The PAQ has been designed as a means of providing you with feedback from your patients on various aspects of your communication skills and professionalism. 

Research has shown that after technical competence, a dentist's interpersonal skills rate as the most important factor in how patients perceive quality of their dental care.  Even technical competence itself is thought to be judged by the patient in terms of dentist's communication, caring and information giving skills.

PAQs are recorded on a computer tablet that is handed out to consecutive patients at specific times during the training year. Trainees will have a period of three weeks only to collect the required number of PAQs but may be in the possession of the tablet longer. Detailed feedback on the results is given to trainees once the data has been returned and processed.  

  • During the training programme, you will be supplied with an Android Tablet usually at one of your study days. Your Adviser/Centre Administrator will advise when you will recieve the tablet and when to return.
  • The tablet should be handed out consecutively to your patients aged 16 and above. A minimum of 30 valid questionnaires must be completed by patients to allow accurate feedback to be calculated.  It is recommended that 35 questionnaires are completed on the tablet to ensure that there are 30 valid completed questionnaires.
  • The front page of the PAQ App will show, your name and the number of completed questionnaires. 
  • The patients’ individual responses are to be entirely confidential.
What are the patients asked? See below video for demo of the PAQ application.
The PAQ - The questionnaire is divided into four sections

Section A

Consists of 13 questions where the patient is asked to rate your performance in different aspects of communication skills and professionalism using a 1-10 scale.  There is also a "can't say" option.  Items are deliberately colloquial in nature, desinged to be easliy understood by the patients.

  • Item content was devised taking into account
  • results of published research into factors that patient's rate as most influencing their overall satisfaction with quality of non-clinical domains of dental care
  • the DVT compentancey documents- communcation and professionalism domains
  • aspects of communication skills/professionalism in current medical/dental assessment programs

Section B

Contains two questions included for statistical and evaluation purposes and a question designed to monitor for discrimination.


Section C

Comprises demographic and equality and diversity questions designed to identify potential sources of bias in patient rating.


Section D

A space is provided at the end of the questionnaire to allow patients to leave their comments on the encounter and any suggestions for improvement.

PAQ Tablet Guidance

PAQ unexplained discrepencies
  • The questionnaires should be completed by patients only. DO NOT LET ANYONE ELSE APART FROM A PATIENT COMPLETE A FEEDBACK QUESTIONAIRE. 

  • Patients should complete the questionnaire at the time of the appointment. While assistance may be given to a patient who may have problems using the tablet, the responses must be those of the patient. 


Electronic devices can provide data on usage and the Dental Assessment Unit has the ability to investigate this usage data. 


Should you feel that you are not going to collect enough PAQ results within the required timeframe, please follow the instructions below.

Three week window - What you need to know
  • You have a three-week window to collect a minimum of 30- 35 PAQ’s, this will start on the date your first PAQ is completed. It is your responsibility to be aware of when the first PAQ was entered, as no-one will be able to give you this information until the results have been uploaded (when you return the tablet).

  • If you are going to require more than three weeks, please follow the guidance below and contact your Adviser BEFORE the three-week deadline. You may have the tablet longer than three weeks but any PAQs collected after this three-week period will be voided by the Dental Assessment Unit if an extension not been granted by the appropriate person . If you take holidays during the time you have the tablet, please follow the guidance below.


If the collection period was from Monday 21st October to Friday 8th November but the VDP was off on annual leave for 1 week during this period the end date for the collection period would be extended to Friday 15th November.


PLEASE NOTE: If you are a VDT you have a period of five-weeks (25 working days) to collect PAQs due to working in practice part time.

How do I request a PAQ Extension?


You will only need to request a PAQ extension if you are required to collect PAQs over more than 15 working days (VDPs) / 25 working days (VDTs) this does not include any days taken as leave or days the practise is closed.

You must request a PAQ extension BEFORE the date you are due to return the tablet to the appropriate Education Centre.

Please click here to see the PAQ extension flow.


What if I am on leave during the time I have the PAQ tablet?

You may have the tablet for longer than the collection period (15 working days) but you must not go over your collection period or the results will be voided.

Your collection period starts on the first day a PAQ is completed by a patient. If you are on leave or the practice is closed due to public holidays during the time you have the tablet. Please email the dates to BEFORE you start collecting PAQs.

Please click here to see the PAQ scheduled leave flow.

PAQ Deadlines

Deadlines will vary depending on scheme, please ask your Advisor for more information.

PAQ Feedback
  • Feedback will be made available to you through the e-Portfolio. Your trainer, adviser and director will also be able to view the feedback.
  • Feedback details the average rating per question (Q1 to Q13) and a rating histogram showing the frequency of patient responses per question. You will also be given feedback from question 15 and anonymous comments from section D.
  • If you receive an average score of 3 or below for any question in Section A, you will be required to undertake an additional round of PAQ distribution and score > 3 for all questions 1-13.
  • If you receive an average score of 3 or below for section A questions as a group, you will be required to undertake an additional round of PAQ distribution and score > 3 for section A.
  • If you receive an average score of 8.5 or below for section A questions as a group, you will be required to undertake an additional round of PAQ distribution with the aim of improving your performance.
  • Responses to questions (Q14, Q16 and Q17) do not appear on your feedback as they are designed for statistical evaluation of the PAQ. Should you wish to receive this information it can be made available as can general information on your participating patients e.g. age range and gender distribution.
Requirements of Satisfactory Completion

Patient Assessment Questionnaire (PAQ)

Defined number of PAQs submitted for analysis

Identification of poor performance is addressed using targeted training - additional defined number of PAQs submitted following action provides evidence of improvement

A signed Summary of Performance sheet for each valid PAQ round