HC Deb 11 May 1950 vol 475 cc561-2
19. Mr. Geoffrey Cooper

asked the Minister of Health what steps he intends to take to safeguard the quality of dental treatment in view of the proposed reduction in dental fees under the National Health Scheme, and under which dentists who maintain the highest standards of work have found the present fees to be less remunerative than before the health scheme was introduced.

Mr. Bevan

There is already machinery for dealing with any failure to employ proper skill and attention. I cannot accept the implications of the last part of the Question.

Mr. Cooper

Would my right hon. Friend agree that the methods and rates of remuneration should be worked out in such a way as to encourage the best work and to discourage those who do hasty and shoddy work? Would he consider any representations that might be made to him with that end in view?

Mr. Bevan

Certainly, Sir. The purpose of the weighting of the original scales was to encourage the dentists to conserve teeth and not take them out unnecessarily. The recent reduction has been necessary in order to bring about economies, but I am always ready to meet representatives of the dental profession who have proposals to make.

Lieut.-Colonel Lipton

Does machinery exist for dealing with those dentists who have turned away patients solely on the pretext that their fees have now been cut?

Mr. Bevan

I have no recent information about dentists doing that, but the Ministry of Health is continually contending with the low standards of some of the dentists.

Mr. Hastings

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that it is practically impossible to ensure good quality work when dentists are paid for the work done?

Mr. Bevan

It is, of course, always impossible to guarantee a certain standard of professional skill and atten- tion. That can only be done by raising the standards of the dental profession.