HC Deb 12 February 1948 vol 447 cc564-5
40. Mr. Wingfield Digby

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that there are still a large number of dentists in Dorset who are refusing to accept dental letters; and what further action he proposes to take to help insured contributors obtain dental treatment.

Mr. Bevan

While there may be individual cases of difficulty, neither my right hon. Friend, the Minister of National Insurance nor I have evidence that insured persons who are members of approved societies giving dental benefit in Dorset or elsewhere are unable to obtain treatment.

Mr. Digby

Is the Minister aware that there are such cases and that I am constantly hearing from people who are unable to have any treatment owing to the long continued dispute?

Mr. Bevan

If the hon. Member will send me particulars, I will have inquiries made. There may be a group of dentists in a particular place who are refusing to receive the certificates, but the approved societies have power to grant travelling allowances for people to go elsewhere.

Captain John Crowder

Can the Minister say which Minister is responsible for this matter? I put a Question down to the right hon. Gentleman and the Table transferred it to the Minister of National Insurance, who gave the answer the other day that they had no power to force dentists to accept these letters. Who is responsible? The Minister asked the hon. Member to send particulars to him, but we have been sending them to the Minister of National Insurance.

Mr. Bevan

It arose out of the confusion in legislation inherited from the past. At the moment dental benefit is an additional benefit given by the approved societies under the National Health Insurance Act and that is the responsibility of the Minister of National Insurance, but it is up to the Minister of Health to try to look after the health of the population and, therefore, we try to help wherever we can. I hope these foolishnesses will disappear after 5th July.

Mr. Frank Byers

May I ask the Minister if it would not be quicker and more satisfactory if he undertook the responsibility of finding out which dentists are refusing treatment, because some of my constituents have had to go many miles in recent weeks?

Mr. Bevan

If the hon. Member will send particulars, I will accept the responsibility of making an investigation.