HC Deb 23 November 1950 vol 481 cc490-1
28. Mr. Black

asked the Minister of Education how many dentists are at present employed in the School Dental Service; and how many more are required to bring the service up to full strength.

Mr. Tomlinson

The number of dentists employed in the School Dental Service at the beginning of June was equivalent to 734 full-time officers. For a complete service of dental inspection and treatment, in which every child is seen annually and all children who require treatment accept and receive it, I estimate that a ratio of about one dentist to 3,000 children would probably be required. An additional 1,150 dentists would have been needed last June to give such a ratio. Owing to the general shortage of dentists, however, it will be impracticable to achieve this ratio for many years, and my immediate aim is to get the service back to its 1948 level at which it was able to offer preventive treatment on an effective scale. For this purpose some 200 additional school dentists will be needed in England and Wales.

Sir Hugh Lucas-Tooth

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether there is any sign that this deficiency is beginning to be filled.

Mr. Tomlinson

I am hoping we shall be able to make progress as a consequence of the meeting of the Dental Whitley Council. That has not yet come to fruition.

Colonel Stoddart-Scott

Are there any local education authorities actually without dental treatment?

Mr. Tomlinson

Not to my knowledge, but many are making their own arrangements, and some of these other arrangements are not satisfactory.