§ 34. Mr. RHYS DAVIES
asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that complaints are made by members of some approved societies against the provision imposed upon them that they must attend dental clinics during working hours, with the consequent loss of wages; and whether he will take steps to remove this requirement?
The conditions under whih insured persons may receive dental benefit as an additional benefit from their approved societies are governed by the schemes of additional benefits adopted by those societies. All such schemes contain a provision that the insured person is to have freedom of choice of dentist from amongst dentists who are willing to provide treatment on the scale of fees adopted by the society. It would, therefore, be improper for a society to require a member to attend for treatment at a dental clinic if he would prefer to obtain his treatment elsewhere. If the hon. Member will send me particulars of any case in which such a requirement is imposed, I will look into the matter.
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that some societies under Section 26 of the National Health Insurance Act have established separate institutions and are giving dental treatment through clinics to their members making it a condition that dental benefit cannot be provided otherwise?
I think the effect of my answer is that if any member prefers to obtain treatment from some other dentist rather than from the dental clinic he has a right to do so, and I would ask the hon. Member to give me particulars of any cases where such a choice has been refused.
§ Mr. BLUNDELL
Has the right hon. Gentleman received any communications from his constituents about this matter?
§ 49. Mr. GERALD HURST
asked the Minister of Health whether persons insured under the National Health Insurance Act are to be deprived of their free choice of dental attendant, of the advantages of private treatment, and to be given institutional treatment at clinics in lieu thereof?
§ 52. Mr. EDMUND WOOD
asked the Minister of Health whether it is his intention to set up dental clinics under the National Health Insurance Bill; and, if so, whether this will in any way affect the right of the insured contributor to choose his own dental attendant?
Approved societies are not at present empowered to establish dental clinics for the provision of dental treatment for their members, but some societies are of opinion that in large industrial centres the setting-up of dental clinics might be attended with some advantages. The question has been very fully considered by the Dental Benefit Joint Committee, which is composed equally of representatives of the dental profession and of approved societies of all types, and that Committee has recommended that in order to test the desirability of this form of treatment one or more experimental clinics should be set up. Under the National Health Insurance Bill now before the House, provision has accordingly been included which would enable this to be done, subject to regulations which would have to be laid before Parliament. There is, however, no intention of making it compulsory 2096 upon any insured person to obtain his treatment in a clinic if he would prefer to be treated by a private practitioner, and I am satisfied that freedom of choice of dentist must be retained as a cardinal principle in any arrangements that may be made.
§ Colonel APPLIN
Will the right hon. Gentleman see that where clinics have been illegally established, they will now be abolished?