HC Deb 28 January 1947 vol 432 cc738-9
2. Mr. Digby

asked the Minister of National Insurance if he will give an estimate of the proportion of dentists who normally participate in the existing dental benefit service who have not accepted the advice of the Joint Advisory Dental Council to resume the practice of accepting dental letters.

7. Mr. Baird

asked the Minister of National Insurance the percentage acceptance of dental letters by dentists at present as compared with the period before the present dispute commenced.

Mr. Griffiths

Precise figures are not available. Information which has been received, however, as to the number of dental letters accepted by dentists and returned to some of the larger approved societies during a recent period, suggests that a substantial number of insured persons entitled to dental benefit are now obtaining treatment in accordance with the Dental Benefit Regulations.

I would add that the Joint Advisory Dental Benefit Council have recently reaffirmed their approval of the terms negotiated in December last. I trust that the professional organisations concerned will now take all possible steps to bring home to their members, in the interest not only of insured persons but of the profession itself, the importance of conforming without further delay to these terms, which were negotiated after full discussion with their representatives.

Mr. Digby

Is it not a fact that branches of the Incorporated Dental Society and the British Dental Association have re, fused to accept the new agreement; and in view of the fact that this dispute has now been going on for well over a year, will the Minister take all possible steps to reach a satisfactory conclusion?

Mr. Griffiths

I am very sorry indeed to hear that any of the members are refusing to accept a settlement negotiated between myself and their representatives. I can only hope that they will accept the advice of their leaders.

Mr. Baird

Will the Minister make it quite clear that the only reason he cannot give definite figures is that only limited statistics are available? The reason he is not able to give a definite decision is because of that. Furthermore, does he not—

Mr. Speaker

That is not a question, it is a speech.