HC Deb 17 November 1949 vol 469 cc2177-8
29. Dr. Broughton

asked the Minister of Health what was the number of dentists serving in the National Health Service on 5th July, 1948; and what is the latest available figure.

Mr. Bevan

Four thousand five hundred and sixty-two and, on 1st October, 1949, 9.468.

Dr. Broughton

Does my right hon. Friend regard this considerable increase as being due to the financial attraction of the service, and can he say whether the dentists' scale of fees is now under review again?

Mr. Bevan

I am unable to estimate how much influence the scale of fees had on the recruitment of dentists. That is a subjective subject on which I am not able to pass an opinion. However, I am delighted that the number has gone up to its present size. I am also considering at the present time making appli- cation for a further reduction in certain of the scales.

Mr. Austin

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this substantial increase is in part due to the fact that a certain number of dentists have been attracted from the school dental service by the substantial scales offered?

Mr. Bevan

I think my hon. Friend has exaggerated the position. This is entirely a matter between the local authorities, on the one side, and the dentists on the other, and I have been trying to arrange for both to join the Whitley machinery.

Mr. Tolley

Can my right hon. Friend give figures relative to the number of dentists who originally joined the scheme and who have now left it?

Mr. Bevan

I have not the figures. A dentist does not join the scheme in the sense that some hon. Members suggest. What he does is to accept a patient under the scheme.